Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy New Year

I will not be around for a few days, so I wanted to send out a special wish that your New Year is filled with joy, happiness and love. Hope to see you around in 2012!!

The snowflake image is from FredSheSaid.

If you are heading to a party for New Years Eve here are two of my favorite dip recipes.

Spinach Dip (pampered chef)

1 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed/drained
1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/4 cup sour cream
1 8 oz. can water chestnuts, drained chopped
1 1.4 oz. package Knorr vegetable soup mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients. To serve hot, spread on little bread slices and place in 375 oven for 10 minutes. or serve cold with crackers or bread slices.

Chicken Spread 

8 oz. cream cheese
small onion, finely chopped
small can 4.25 oz canned chicken
1 T. mayonnaise
1 T. soy sauce

Blend all ingredients together with a hand mixer until creamy. Serve with crackers.

Enjoy!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Holiday Time = Creative Time

I hope everyone had a Merry and Joyful Holiday. My boys have been filling their time building Legos and eating as many cookies as they can.  It's been lots of fun!  I know I haven't been on my blog much but that will be changing.  I've been busy with some projects around the house and I'm hoping to be able to show them to you in a few weeks when the project is finished.  I've also been busy working on some assignments for the classes I signed up for next year.  I'm hoping I didn't bite off more then I can chew, but I'm really motivated and looking forward to the classes.

One thing that I haven't done in a long, long time was to do a scrapbook challenge. I've been busy organizing my supplies and when I get into my cleaning mode, I don't do much creating. I really needed to do something fun and creative so what better way then a challenge from Scrap the Boys.  The challenge was to use 1 or 2 photos on a Christmas themed layout using Green, Red, White and Blue.



I actually had a kit by Dianne Rigdon Designs called Be Merry that used those four colors. The template was from Ali Edwards.

Enjoy the last few days of 2011.  What are your plans for ringing in the new year?  Do you do something quiet or head out to a big party?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

School Update

Happy Xmas Eve!

This has been the first day in weeks that I haven't been baking, shopping, wrapping, making, cooking, etc... You know the feeling. It's time to relax and enjoy the season.

Since I had some down time I thought it was time to post something on my blog that I've been absent from since earlier in the month.  I finished my first semester back at school and loved every minute of it. The last few weeks were stressful, trying to get all my final project ready, but I really love this program.

I took three classes: Intro to Photography, Fundamentals of Design and Intro to Photoshop.

Our last assignment in Photography was a model shot. We had to compile a Model Comp card. We only had 5 minutes with the model in the first outfit and then only 3 minutes in the second.  The third outfit we only had one minute but the last outfit we could only take 3 photos but had as much time as we wanted. You really had to have a good item what you wanted so you could move the lights and pose the model in the time allowed. Here is the Comp Card I did:


Our final project for this class was a slide show of our best pictures showing our range of style. I would share the slideshow but I have no idea on how to add a Lightroom Slideshow to blogger. Sorry!

My Photoshop class was amazing. Our final two projects pushed us to use the skills we learned in class to create something of our own. I was excited when we were told we had to design our own movie poster. We could pick any movie that has been out in the last 10 years. We needed to find good quality images and make it look like something Hollywood would use. Anyone that knows me knows I did a Harry Potter movie poster. I had so much fun with this and I plan on getting it printed and hanging it in our basement.


Then our final project was to combine two images into one and make it look like it's always been that way.  So I did a snake whose body turns into an orange peel.


My boys really liked this assignment they were asking me to combine all kinds of things, not realizing how much time it took me to do this one picture. 

My third class, Fundamentals of Design was my messy class. We used pencils and paint for all our projects. I haven't taken any photos of the final matted items, but maybe some day I'll get around to showing them. I did learn so many of the rules of design and how they work together to create something amazing.

I'm just hoping I remember all the wonderful things I learned this semester.  Next semester I decided to only take two classes, three was too much.  I will be learning Fundamentals of Illustration and Digital Illustration. 

I will be back after the holiday, so until then, have a safe and Happy Christmas! Thank you for being a part of my life through this blog.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ten on 10


Ten favorite holiday movies:


  1. It's a Wonderful Life  
  2. A Christmas Story
  3. A Christmas Carol
  4. Elf
  5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  6. Miracle on 34th Street
  7. The Santa Clause
  8. Scrooged
  9. The Year without a Santa Clause
  10. All the other cartoon classics (Frosty, Rudolph, Drummer Boy)
What's on your must see list every year?


This post is part of Shimelle's month blog challenge.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Plan for the New Year

Do you have a plan for the New Year?  Are there classes or projects that you are signing up for?  I've been trying to decide which classes/projects I'm going to jump into, but it's really hard!  I want to do them all.  Everything looks so cool and fresh and exciting.  I'm trying to be good and not over commit but here is what I'm doing so far:

Over at Big Picture I've signed up for

Twelve - Stacy Julian

Big Picture Classes

This class was a jump for me. I wasn't sure about the commitment, but I love Stacy's classes.  They are always worth the money and you get so much more than you release from them. I'm going to do my best to keep up with this class, but I'm a little worried.

One Little Word 2012 - Ali Edwards



I really enjoyed the 2011 version of this class. I struggled a little at the end to keep motivated but because of the blog hop I was in, I keep going and have a wonderful journey documented. I still don't know what my word will be, but I'm looking forward to exploring it.

Round Up Your Memories - Katie Nelson

I've been doing Katie's round up for a few months now and really enjoy them. I'm taking the class to get more ideas on gather my information and using them in my books.

Classes I'm thinking about:

Finding Your Photo Flow over at Digi Scraps 101. 

I'm taking Kayla's free lightroom digi organization class and I'm loving it. I'm really curious to see how she organizes here photos and keeps them organized. She is going to look at all types of software, not just lightroom, so this might help me decide which software will work best for me in the long run.

The Art of Poster Design and Digi-In Deep over at Jessica Sprague.

It's been a while since I took anything over at Jessica's site. I've loved the classes I took in the past and I think it's time to learn some more Photoshop skills.

Project Life - Becky Higgins
This would be a huge jump for me. I love seeing everyone's projects but it's a big, big commitment. I'm not sure if I'm ready for it yet. She also has a class coming to Big Picture called Project Real Life that I might look into.

I also have my college course I have to keep up, so I can not forget about those.  What classes/projects are you really looking forward to doing in the new year?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Family x12 Blog Hop

Happy December!! I'm glad you had a few minutes in your busy holiday schedule to stop by.  If you been following along with the blog hop you just came from Melissa's blog - don't you just love her blog!! If your not familiar with this blog hop, the idea is to get a family portrait each month. Now it doesn't have to be a formal portrait, it just has to be a photo with everyone in your family included.


This month I'm a little embarrassed by my photo.  I was suppose to get a nice picture of all of us after our Thanksgiving dinner.  The problem was I forgot my tri-pod and my kids were too cold to wait for mom to figure something out.  So the photo I have is us at the restaurant we had dinner at.  The photo is blurry, only one child is looking at the camera, my husband and I are in the mirror and you can not really see me because I have the camera in front of my face, but we are all there!!


Oh well, they can not all be masterpieces. :) Even thought this is not the best picture, I still really like it. This was the first time we had Thanksgiving dinner out.  I usually cook, but my siblings either had other plans or don't live here anymore.  It seemed like a lot of effort to cook a huge meal when in reality only my husband and I would eat most of it. The meal at the restaurant was wonderful and who knows maybe this will be our new tradition.

If you haven't stopped by the other blog hop participates please stop in and say hello.  It's a small group so it won't take you long.  Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful holiday season.

Margie  http://xnomads.typepad.com/blog
Jo          http://www.mrsbeee.blogspot.com
Melissa  http://www.melissagross.blogspot.com
Monica  http://questtoperfectimperfection.blogspot.com

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Monthly Recap...


It's that time again.... Here's what I've been up to.

1. What books and/or magazines did I read this month?

Oxygen & Clean Eating - my usually monthly magazines
Irish Dreams – Nora Roberts

2. What movies, television shows, plays, etc. Did I watch this month?

Footloose
Breaking Dawn

3. What fun things did I do with my family and/or friends?

Coached my sons Lego Robotics Team. Competition was so much fun and it was amazing to see what these kids come up with for their projects.

Had lunch with my good friend Laura.  Went to Pottery Barn with her after for some shopping.

Went furniture shopping for our living room remodel.

Went out to dinner with my friends from High School. Always a wonderful time.

Went to Keuse and Muir on Main for Thanksgiving dinner.

4. What gifts did I give and/or recieve?

Bought many gifts but did not give them yet.
5. What special or unusual purchases did I make?
New Sump Pump – not expected. Lucky we caught the problem before there was too much water in the basement.
Wall Units for our living room remodel.
New windows for first floor of house.
6. What illness or health concerns did I have?

Logan had his annual check up at the heart doctor. He still has the hole in his heart, but it hasn’t changed in size.  So we will come back again next year to get it checked again.
 
7. What were my accomplishments this month?

Registered for next semesters classes.
Organizing my digi supplies in LightRoom.  Imported everything and tagged by kit and designer.

8. What disappointments this month?

Haven’t had the time to workout like I would like to.
9. How did I do on my goals for the month?

Did great on goals. Almost done with Xmas shopping.  Just need to get DH gift and my mom something. But the boys are done.
I also took a photo of the boys on Thanksgiving that I will use in our Christmas Cards.
10.  Anything else noteworthy to include?

Had teacher conferences with the boys teachers. They are all doing great.
William football team tied for first place. William started basketball.
Kyle was in his first piano recital.  Kyle started gymnastics.
Logan started violin lessons.

Goals for next month:

Mail out Xmas cards.
Finish my classes with a bang!!
Order furniture and pick our carpeting for living room
Enjoy the holiday season
This idea is from Katie the Scrapbook lady.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

One Little Word Blog Hop

It's hard to believe it's December.  This is the 11 OLW Blog Hop and I'm happy to say I've stuck with it and did all the assignments.  Yippeee!!! I'm so glad that you have stopped by to see what I've been up to.  If you would like to see the other months check this out.

This months prompt was to do some writing using some "I" statements.  My scan came up very yellow, they are slightly more to the orange side then the bright yellow.


If you stopped by from Jill's blog and would like to continue on, your next stop is over at Nikki's.  If you would like to start at the beginning of the blog just click on Margie's blog link below.  Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon.

Margie    http://xnomads.typepad.com
Julie Ann    http://julieannshahin2.blogpsot.com
Jill        http://jillconyers.typepad.com
Monica B    http://questtoperfectimperfection.blogspot.com
Nikki        http://www.inkyart.com.au
Debra    http://blakleyhomeplace.blogspot.com
Amanda    http://scrappnbee.blogspot.com
Sam        http://learncreatedo.wordpress.com
Lynn        http://crafty-creativity.blogspot.com
Cynthia    http://paperpapereverywhere.blogspot.com
Jan        http://mysimplelittlelife.typepad.com
Jenn        http://studiojenn.blogspot.com
Cindy    http://seriousplay.typepad.com
LIsa        http://backtoallen.com

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Your Name in Photos

This is the last photography assignment I have to share with you. Spelling your name in photos. At first I was not to thrilled about doing this, but I love the end result so much that now I want to go find other letters and make a collage for each of my boys.  This would also make an amazing holiday gift for those people that have everything.

All these photos were taking on the same nature walk with my family. I love how all the photos seem to go together.  Each photo by themselves were not that great but together they are so much more.

If you decide to do this please let me know. I would love to see what you do.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Putting it All Together

The last half of my photograph class has been putting all the rules and techniques we have learned to use.  We were introduced to the studio and all the lights, back drops and tables that can be used. Let me just say, I would love to have a studio in my home.  I loved doing the studio work.

We learned about the six different ways to light a person for a portrait. The best way to do a model shoot and how take photographs of objects.

My favorite studio shoot was for an advertising ad. Our assignment was to bring in our own props and design and shoot a magazine ad. I really enjoyed making this assignment come together. The best part was helping other people, I really learned so much by doing that. I think this was my kids favorite assignment too, because I needed to make cookies for my props.  Here is the final photo that was edited for a magazine page.



I could serious see doing this type of photography for a living. It was that much fun!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Jumping in with Both Feet

When I fall off the wagon, I really fall. Yes, I fell off the imperfection wagon. My perfectionism was winning out and my life started to fall apart. I don't understand why that happens. You would think if you were trying to be perfect, everything would be perfect.  My problem is that I get so caught up in doing everything perfect that I don't start anything if I can not finish it to the 110% standard my perfectionist nature sets. So I've neglected myself, my blog, my home, my crafting and so many other things that I feel like I dug myself into a hole, a big hole.

As they say, admitting you have a problem is the first step. So I'm back on my quest and setting my sights on the things that are important to me and just doing my best, not being perfect, and enjoying myself.

One thing that I was thinking about doing, but the perfectionist was telling me I was crazy, was to sign up for Stacy Julian's class Twelve.

Big Picture Classes

I love Stacy's classes. She rocks!! I also know that her classes have a lot of content. After signing up and looking at the pre-class assignment, I kinda went "Oh, what did I just do." But I also feel the excitement on were this class will go and the new things that I will learn.

So now I'm off to figure out what type of muffins I'm going to make for the class - it's part of the pre-class assignment.  But before I go I have a question for my fellow bloggers.  I want to share more photos and stories on my blog, the problem I run into is getting the photos from my camera into blogger in a quick and easy way.  What is your process for getting your photos ready to be blogged?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Night Shots

This was a fun assignment. My family and I went to a downtown area near by at night. I set up my tri-pod at one of the intersections and started taking photos. It was funny how many people stopped to see what I was doing.

Here are some of the "rules" of taking a night (city) shot. 

Set you white balance to Day Light.  This is because the mix of lights that you will have in the photo.
Set your apeture around F8-F11
Use a super slow shutter speed 1 or 2 seconds
Keep ISO at 400 or lower
Turn off Auto Focus
and the most important - You must use a tripod or set your camera on something.


Another fun night shot is what my instructor called How many faces.  You set your shutter speed to 30 seconds and using a flashlight you see how many faces you can get into one photo.  You shine the light on your face, then turn the light off  and move. Turn the light on again, then turn it off and move. Keep doing this until the shutter is released.  I did the following picture with one of my jack-o-lanterns.

My kids really enjoyed trying to get as many faces as they could in 30 seconds and it was very funny looking at the end results.

Do you have a favorite go to technique when taking photos in low light or do you just avoid those type of photos?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Landscape Photos

For a traditional style landscape photo, you need to consider three things:

  1. You want Lots of Depth of Field. To get this remember these things
    • Use a big f-stop
    • Focus far away - distance increase depth of field
    • Use a short focal length - zoom out
  2. You want good light.  Early morning or evening will give you the softest light.
  3. Composition. Use the Rule of thirds.  Do not place your horizon in the middle of the photo. Place it either a third up or down.
For this assignment I took dozens of photos at a local park. Some were good others not so good. But I learned so much just playing around.  Another thing to consider when taking a landscape is to use a tri-pod. When shooting in low light you might need to use a slower shutter speed and you don't want any hand shake showing up in your photo.

For my class we could only turn in one photo with three edits using Light room to edit the photo. Here is the original photo.



And here are the three edits.

This one I wanted to bring out the cool tones in the picture.

For this photo I was going for old fashion with added noise for that antique look.

 

And finally I wanted to go dramatic with lots of contrast.

This was the first time I used lightroom to edit photos and I have to say I love it!!  Because I love it so much I decided I wanted to organize my supplies and photos in Light Room, so I'm currently going through the Free Light Room Class over at DigiSrcap 101.  So far this is a wonderful class.  I'm still in the beginning stages because I had a lot of supplies to organize. If you are in need of a good system to organize your stash check this out, it might be just what your looking for.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Back lit Photography

I know some of the photograph assignments sound like Greek to some and I know the feeling.  I wish I knew how to describe these assignment in a better way, but I hope these short descriptions inspire you to explore and play with your camera.

The course I'm taking through our Community College has made all the difference. It was well worth the time and money.  It's a 16 week class that meets for 6 hours a week. I've learned so much about my photography by doing the assignment and seeing what others have done. If you ever get a chance to take a course like this, do it, you will learn so much.

Now on to the lesson. I was so excited to learn about back lit photography. I've had my share of pictures were the person was in silhouette because I didn't understand the proper way to shoot when my background was brighter then my subject.  Our assignment was to take three photos.

  1. Subject that is Backlit (background will be bright)
  2. Subject is  silhouetted
  3. Even exposure for background and subject

  For this photo, I metered my camera on the branches.  This caused the back ground to be overexposed, but the subject to be in proper exposure.



For this photo, I metered my camera on the sky. This caused the sky to be in proper exposure but my subject to be underexposed.


For this photo, I metered on the sky again, but I used my flash to fill in the subject for an even exposure of my subject.  This will only work if your subject is close enough for the flash to work on it.

Coming up is landscape and night scape photos.

Friday, November 18, 2011

In Focus

Here is the next lesson from my photography class I'm taking at our local college.  If you missed the other lesson go here to check it out.

Our next assignment in my photography class was Depth of Field.  This is what will be in focus in your picture and you use the aperture setting (or F-stop) to set your depth of field.

F-stop has always been a very confusing issue for me.  I still have to think hard about it but here is what you need to remember.

Bigger Aperture (or small F-stop) = shallow depth of field (less in focus)
Small Aperture (or large F-stop) = deep depth of field (more in focus)

Three things effect depth of field

1. camera to subject distance.  The farther away you are the more depth of field
2. focal length of the lens. The shorter the focal length the more depth of field.
3. Aperture setting. Bigger aperture more depth of field.

For the assignment.  Take two photos of the same scene. Keep the focal length of the lens and distance from subject the same.  Use extreme aperture settings to really see the difference.


f/5.0 1/500 sec. ISO 400 35 mm lens


f/25.0 1/60 sec ISO 800 35 mm lens

I wanted the tree in the forefront to be in focus both times.  When you change your F-stop you must also change your shutter speed (if you are in manual mode). The shutter speed and F-stop have a reciprocal relationship. That means if you move your aperture down one F-stop, you need to increase you shutter speed by one stop too. The reason the ISO changed in the photos was because I couldn't get the photo I wanted at ISO 400 with that large of an F-stop. I just didn't have enough light, so I increased the ISO to help.  

Play around with your aperture and see what results you get.  Remember if you use Aperture Priory setting on your camera, you only need to set the aperture and the camera will set everything else for you.  This is a good way to start to get out of the Automatic Mode on your camera.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Capturing Motion

My first graded assignment in my photography class was all about shutter speed and the different ways to capture motion.

There are three ways to capture motion in a photo.

  • Freeze the action
             To freeze the action into a still image you need to shot at a fast shutter speed.




  • Blur the action
            This type of photo has a clear background but the action is blurred.  For this type of image you shoot at the slowest shutter speed for your settings, without breaking the Golden Rule. (see below for Golden Rule).  The trick to this shot is that the background should be clear and crisp.


  • Pan with the action
             This shot breaks the Golden Rule big time.  Once again you will shot at a slow shutter speed. It's best to set your camera to continuous shot to help capture the subject.  As the subject moves into view you will pan your camera with the motion.  The end result will be a clear subject and a blurred background. 


So what is this Golden Rule?

The Golden Rule states: 
Generally speaking, when hand holding a camera, your shutter speed should be equal to or greater then the focal length of your lens.
You might be saying What?? right now.  That was my reaction the first 5 or 6 times my instructor said this. For most people this will mean you should shoot at 1/60 or faster when you are holding your camera.  This will eliminate hand shake in your photos. 

There are two other rules my instructor taught us.

1.  Follow the Rules.
2.  Break the Rules.

Learn the rules and how to use them and once you understand them, break them to expand your knowledge.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ten on 10

Ten things I must complete before Christmas:

1. Finish my final projects in my three college courses.

2. Buy gifts.


3. Make gifts.

4. Take Family photo for Christmas Cards or I might use one from the 12x Family Blog Hop.

5. Making cards and Sending them out.

6. Making lots of homemade cinnamon rolls.  These are gifts to teachers and friends so I mean LOTS
    and LOTS of rolls.

7. Pick out paint and carpet color for living room and hope we get it done before Christmas.

8. Hang Christmas lights up outside (before it gets too cold).

9. Watch A Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol and the Grinch that
    Stole Christmas.

10. Drink hot chocolate and watch the snow fall.


This post is linked back to Shimelle.com.  She will be starting her Journal your Christmas soon, so stop by to find out how you can join in on the fun.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Family x12 Blog Hop

Welcome to the next Family x12 Blog Hop!!  If you are new to this blog hop there is a brief description of what we are doing.


What is FAMILY x 12?
The goal is at least one family photo per month for a year.  It's not that easy getting everyone in front of the camera at the same time.  This blog hop has been helping me make sure I get a snapshot of my whole family each month.  It will be wonderful to see all the changes during the year with these photos. Thanks to Margie for inspiring this blog hop and project.


So let me start this month by saying "Yipeeee!!".  This process of taking a family photo is becoming more natural. I actually have two photos of all of us this month. In the past these activities would have come and gone and I would have been behind the camera instead of running in front of it. It's so nice when something starts to become normal.

Our photos for the month are a quick one where I set the camera on a picnic table, set the timer and ran.  It's not centered or the greatest photo but I still love it because it's my lovely family enjoying our day together.


The next photo is everyone ready for Halloween.



Thanks for stopping by, this is the end of the blog hop.  If you didn't start from the beginning, please head over to Margie's Blog to see her lovely family.  Here is the complete list of participants:

Margie  http://xnomads.typepad.com/blog
Melissa  http://www.melissagross.blogspot.com
Carol Anne   http://www.scrappingthoughts.com
Patricia http://patoliveira.wordpress.com/
MonicaB   http://questtoperfectimperfection.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 4, 2011

Monthly Recap...

October is my favorite month. Not only is the landscape turning into brilliant colors, but the days are the perfect temperature. I love the crisp, clean feel of a fall day.  To add to the enjoyment, I also celebrated another birthday and there is Halloween to top it all off.  Here's what else I've been up to this past month.


1. What books and/or magazines did I read this month?

Oxygen & Clean Eating - my usually monthly magazines
Design Fundamentals for the Digital Age - by Linda Holtzchue, Edward Noriega
A Short Course in Digital Photography by Barbara London and Jim Stone
Irish Dreams  by Nora Roberts



2. What movies, television shows, plays, etc. Did I watch this month?

Bridemaids
Crazy, Stupid Love

3. What fun things did I do with my family and/or friends?

Dinner with my Brothers
Date Night with Hubby - dinner and a movie
Friday Night Crop - Did homework, but still had a great time
Surprise party for my Brother's 50th at Bowling Alley
Corn Maze
Food Allergy Walk

Craving Pumpkins

4. What gifts did I give and/or recieve?

I received 2 Script CDs, a DS game - Professor Layton, North Face jacket and an everyday watch.

5. What special or unusual purchases did I make?

Halloween Costumes - Policeman, Faceless Phantom and Joker
Hubby bought large animated witch and skeleton
Turbo Fire workout
Down payment on replacing the rest of our windows

6. What illness or health concerns did I have?

EEG and MRI came back fine.  Working on getting more sleep and reducing my stress. That is helping with the problems.
 
7. What were my accomplishments this month?

Ran another 5K. This time with my 8 year old.



8. What disappointments this month?

Had to drop my Pilates class - it just wasn't at a good time.
I've also had to cut back on my personal trainer - it was not working into the budget.

9. How did I do on my goals for the month?

I did great on my goals this month.  I wanted to do one more race before winter and I did that with my son.

My other goal was to do deep breathing to relax. I've been doing that in the morning.

10.  Anything else noteworthy to include?

Had meeting with interior designer and carpenters. Phase one of living room remodel has started.
Coaching Lego robotics team.

Goals for next month:

Start my Christmas shopping early, so I'm not running around trying to find that special gift.
Take pictures for Christmas cards



This idea is from Katie the Scrapbook lady.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One Little Word Blog Hop

It's November 1st. Only a few more months to explore my One Little Word - Ignite.  I have to admit I haven't been looking at my word much the last few months.  I have been scrambling at the last minute to pull together my prompts.  I actually worked on this months prompt on October 30th.  But I realized even thought I haven't been focusing on my word, my word has been in full bloom.

The prompt this month was to re-do the prompt from February which was to explore your word in photos.   Here are the photos that I took eight months ago.


For this months photos I went back and looked at pictures I took over the last eight months that represented my word, using the nine themes I typed on the original photos.


Strength - I'm still working hard at transforming my body.  Getting stronger and faster. It's a part of my life now.

Love - Of my family, of being outside, of being active.

Joy -Enjoying being with friends and celebrating the things in life that make me happy.

Adventure - Seeing new places and things. Going back to school and learning new things. Exploring my life and the world around me.

Creativity - Learning new ways of being creative.

Balance - Making time for my loved ones and myself. Finding balance with the computer and real life.

Health - Eating healthy. Learning to preserve my own food. Taking little steps.

Faith - Having faith in me. Cutting down on the negative talk within my our mind.

Peace - Finding the peace in me time and on the race trail.

All these themes ignite the power within me. I've really come to love my word. It's helped me so much this year and it's not even over.  Who knows what will be ignited in the next two month??  You'll have to come back to find out.

Thanks for stopping by on the One Little Word Blog Hop.  Your next stop is over at Rebekah's blog

Here is a list of all the participants.

Margie              http://xnomads.typepad.com/
Julie Ann          http://julieannshahin2.blogspot.com
Lisa                   http://backtoallen.com/writers_blog
Sam                   http://learncreatedo.wordpress.com
Jenn                   http://studiojenn.blogspot.com
Cheri                 http://cheriandrews.blogspot.com
Jan                     http://mysimplelittlelife.typepad.com
Debra                 http://blakleyhomeplace.blogspot.com
Nikki                  http://www.inkyart.com.au
Monica              http://questtoperfectimperfection.blogspot.com
Rebekah            http://istampscrapcraft.blogspot.com
Lynn                  http://crafty-creativity.blogspot.com
Amanda            http://scrappnbee.blogspot.com
Jill                     http://jillconyers.typepad.com/

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Photography

Today I thought I would start sharing some of my work from my photography class. I'm taking this class as part of my program and I'm loving it. At first I was slightly nervous. Then I got very nervous when the professor said we will only be using Manual setting in the class.  What?? I never use Manual setting.

The first thing we had to learn was the golden rule of photography:

Generally speaking, when hand holding a camera, your shutter speed should be equal to or greater than the focal length of your lens.

What does that mean? That means if you are using a standard 50mm lens and you are holding your camera, you should not set your shutter speed to be slower than 1/60.  You can break this rule if you are using a tri-pod or if you have image stabilization you can break it slightly.  By following this rule, you will eliminate camera movement blur that can happen if the natural shake of your hand.

Our first assignment was to take 24 photos of anything, using manual mode and getting a proper exposure. You could not delete any photos, they had to be 24 pictures in a roll, without any editing.  Here are a few of my favorites:







I'm really loving this class because I'm finally understanding aperture and shutter speed and how they work together. I've taken on-line classes before but I never really got it. But being in a class that meets twice a week and seeing other examples of work have really helped me get a better understand. So if you struggle with understanding your camera, don't give up! Take classes. Experiment. And take lots and lots of photos. 

What mode do you usually shot in? I was always a program mode person, but now I can see using my other setting more to get the photo I want.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Remember Me

I was the person that blogged often. I was the person that read my google reader daily. I was the person that did some crafts every week. I guess I'm still that person, I'm just not doing the things I use to do. I realized how bad it was when I went to my google reader and I had over 200 unread post!!  Wow! I couldn't believe it. How did it get so out of control?? I made the decision to mark everything as read and move forward.

So why haven't I been around.  Most of the reason has been my school schedule. It's mid-term time and I've had a lot of studying and projects to get done. I'm also a coach for my son's Lego Robitics team. I've never done that before and it's a huge learning curve. And finally (and the most frustrating) is our external hard drive died. We finally got it back and now we are having problems with it communicating with my laptop.  It was working fine for a few weeks, it works with my mac, but for some reason my laptop cannot map to it.  This is a huge problem because my laptop has my organizing software (ACDSee) on it, but the files are on the hard drive. My husband spent about 4 hours yesterday trying to figure it out and now he has given up. So my normal work flow has been extremely interrupted and it's still not back to normal.

Well enough of my excuses. I need to get back into a regular work flow to keep up with all my digi friends and to document my life.  Wish me luck getting my laptop to work again, I really need it!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More school work...

I thought I would share with you another assignment that I completed in my Photoshop class.  Most of the assignments are not really exciting to look at, they are meant to teach you about a tool or technique so we can complete our final project.  This lesson was to get us comfortable with tinting a photo.  The trick was to zoom in really close and adjust the paint brush.  It was time consuming but not very difficult.

The final photo is split in half. One side was the original color, the other is what I colored.




Here's how this was done.

Open the photo and make a new adjustment layer. Choose Hue/Saturation and slide the saturation slider all the way to the left. This will make the image appear gray.

Next, add a new layer and change the blend mode to color for that layer. Now, grab your brush tool, select a color, and start to paint.

This is a great technique if you want to add a "pop" of color to a photo.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One of my inspirations...

Not to be forgotten...


Steve Jobs changed the world. He will be missed. 1955-2011.



Have the courage to follow your heart & intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. - Steve Jobs

Family x12 Blog Hop

Welcome to the next Family x12 Blog Hop!!


What is FAMILY x 12?
The goal is at least one family photo per month for a year.  It's not that easy getting everyone in front of the camera at the same time.  This blog hop has been helping me make sure I get a snapshot of my whole family each month.  It will be wonderful to see all the changes during the year with these photos. Thanks to Margie for inspiring this blog hop and project.


This month we have a very small group in the blog hop. This task is so much harder then it sounds. We don't take enough pictures of our families all together. I'm so thankful for this hop because I would have missed some gems like this months picture.   I would have been so easy to just take pictures of my boys and husband without handing the camera to someone and getting a group photo. I love this picture. It's our first family race.

This was such an amazing day. This was my second race and since the boys could walk for free I thought it would make a great family outing.  I figured I would run and all the boys could walk the course. When I finished the race I turned around and started walking back to join my family. I was so surprised when I saw my middle boy running towards me. He had a huge smile on his face and was so excited. We ran the rest of the way and I had a hard time keeping up with him.  Shortly after him his big brother came running over the finish line.  We didn't have to wait long before my youngest came running.  Then we all cheered their Dad on over the line.

They were all so excited about the race. My middle child's excitement did not end at the finish line. He wants to run a race were he will have a number so he knows his time and sees his name on the list. He has been asking me daily if I found another race for us to run.  I told him we will run a local race at the end of October and he is so ready to try a 5K race.  I'm just hoping I can keep up with him.

Thanks for stopping by this month. Your next stop is Jo.  Here is the rest of the people that have joined us this month. Like I said it's a small list, so please stop by each to congratulate them for keeping the Family x12 blog hop going.


Margie  http://xnomads.typepad.com/blog
Melissa  http://www.melissagross.blogspot.com
Monica  http://questtoperfectimperfection.blogspot.com   <----- YOU ARE HERE
Jo        http://www.mrsbeee.blogspot.com

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monthly Recap

September! Where did you go?? It's definitely feeling like Fall here in Michigan. That means the colors will soon be blazing on the trees and the air will be cool and crisp. I love the Fall! But back to September, it went by so fast. The start of the school year is always crazy and slightly stressful.  I think things will start to settle out (a little) and we have our routines down. So here is what I've been up to this month.

1. What books and/or magazines did I read this month?

Oxygen & Clean Eating - my usually monthly magazines
Good Housekeeping & Family Fun - love the Halloween ideas
Reread Western Sky  by Nora RobertsMy text books


2. What movies, television shows, plays, etc. Did I watch this month?

The story of Pixar - great documentary
History of American photography (watched in class, really interesting)
Wipeout - our family favorite


3. What fun things did I do with my family and/or friends?

Boys started school
Celebrate oldest & youngest birthday
Open house at school
We all did a 4K walk/run

4. What gifts did I give and/or recieve?

Oldest child recieved a new bike
Youngest child received a LeapPad

5. What special or unusual purchases did I make?

Lightroom
New 70-300 Zoom Lens for camera

6. What illness or health concerns did I have?

Had EEG to see what's going on with Headaches. 
7. What were my accomplishments this month?

Ran my first 5K and 4K.
Started Pilates Class

8. What disappointments this month?

Still not drinking enough water
Haven't been doing meal plans and I really miss them.

9. How did I do on my goals for the month?

Ran 5K in 30:52. Ran 4K in 26.28.
Organizing supplies did not go well. My ext. harddrive broke. I had to send it out to get it replaced because it's under warrenty.  The files are there it just will not "talk" to the computer.
Did some baking and froze some snacks.

10.  Anything else noteworthy to include?

I'm the robot coach for one of our FIRST Lego Robotics Teams. I've never done this and I'm learning as I go, but I think it will be fun once we get a better understand of what we need to do.

Goals for next month:

Sign up for a least one more race before winter.
Spend at least 5 minutes each day doing deep breathing to relax.


This idea is from Katie the Scrapbook lady.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

OLW Blog Hop

Welcome back to the 9th OLW blog Hop! September has been a big blur.  My schedule has been so packed with activities, work, meetings, appointment and assignments. I have to admit I did this months OLW project just two days ago. I printed out the worksheet at the beginning of the month but it just sat there until I found time.

Our project for this month was to pick our battles. Choose one battle I'm willing to fight for and one that I'm surrendering.

I choose to fight for my health. Exercise was my main focus this year and I've come so far and I'm worried I might slide backwards. I need to keep this battle a top priority. I need to make my health a priority. A step I took to help with this battle was to join a pilates class.  So now I have three scheduled in stone appointments that support my battle.

The battle I'm surrendering is my goal to go weekly challenges.  This was adding too much stress and not enough joy to my creative outlet. I'm not saying I won't do any challenges, I'm just not putting them on my to do list.

Thanks for stopping by. Your next stop on the blog hop is over at Lynn's lovely blog.  Here is a complete list of all the blogs that are participating this month.

Margie      http://xnomads.typepad.com
Julie Ann  http://julieannshahin2.blogspot.com
Cheri         http://cheriandrews.blogspot.com
Nikki        www.inkyart.com.au
Sam          http://learncreatedo.wordpress.com/
Jan            http://mysimplelittlelife.typepad.com
Jenn          www.studiojenn.blogspot.com
Nicky        www.seejanebake.blogspot.com
Jill             http://jillconyers.typepad.com/
Monica      http://questtoperfectimperfection.blogspot.com/  <---- YOU ARE HERE
Lynn          www.crafty-creativity.blogspot.com
Lisa           http://backtoallen.com/writers_blog
Cindy        http://seriousplay.typepad.com

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fitness Friday

I completed my second race, but this time it was a family affair.  The race was a 4K walk/run & 8K run.  I signed up for the 4K run and I signed my husband up the 4K walk. Kids under 12 could walk for free, so our boys walked with their Dad. Well, they walked for most of the way.

It was a beautiful trail run, with cool, dry weather. I still don't like the hills. I placed 3rd in my age group!!! I couldn't believe it. And I placed 15 overall.  I was so happy. My time was slower but still a good pace at 10:35 and I walked up many of the hills.  This was great because I really haven't ran sense my last race.

When I finished the race I walked back to join up with the rest of my family.  To my surprise I came across my middle child running along the trail. He said he wanted to run and Dad said that's fine go for it. He did great and now he wants to run a "real" race so he can have a number and get his name on the list. The rest of the boys ran up ahead of their Dad too and we all stood and cheered him on when he finished the race. It was a great family outing and I will be looking for more races to do in the future.

Did I just type that?? Yes, I enjoy the races. I'm not to crazy about training for a race, but I love race day. And I can not wait to run with my little boy, even though he might whip me.

I'm linking this post up to the Fitness Friday post over at Life...As I See It.  This is a wonderful site for health and fitness information and inspiration.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Still alive and kicking

Wow, time sure flies when your really, really busy!!

Going back to school full-time is really taking it's toll on me and my free time. I'm really enjoying my classes and I'm learning so much. I thought since I haven't had time to do anything crafty because of my homework, that I would share my homework with you.

One of the classes I'm taking is Intro to Photoshop. I love Photoshop and I've used Elements for my digi-scrapbooking. This class is so exciting to me because I know I'll use everything I learn.  Since this is a basic Intro class we have to start out slow, so the first lesson was to get us comfortable with the tools and working in layers.  We had to select 3 coloring book pages that were scanned into the computer. Then we had to color them using layers and then use the Dodge and Burn tools to create shading and interest.

The first one I did was Beauty and the Beast.


Then the Harry Potter fan in me wanted to do Dumbledore.


And finally my love of Mickey Mouse pervailed.

 This was such a fun assignment and I enjoyed doing it.  Each lesson builds on each other and our final project is to create a movie poster.  But you will have to wait about 14 weeks before I'll have that to show you.