absolute beginner

I briefly mentioned a recent book purchase, Plate to Pixel, in a post earlier this month. I'm not done reading and absorbing, but I've been skimming through and one of the things I've really loved about Helene's styling is the rustic table top backgrounds she uses. I didn't see any explicit directions in the book or on her blog (although there is a brief scene of her painting some wood in this promo video), but I've got piles of old fence boards, so I made up my own version. I finally finished it this weekend, and when the skies went dark and a freak thunderstorm rolled through this afternoon, I decided to set it up on the porch and try it out. 

image from www.flickr.com
I painted one side a robin's egg blue that I had laying around (someday it will be an accent wall in my laundry room), and sanded the other side, so it's two backgrounds in one! I still need to work on adjusting my camera settings, I think these might be a bit too bright and over-exposed, despite the grey skies. I even started playing around with this reflector set I recently bought, it was quite a bargain! I used the diffuser disc on the photo above and directly below, but there's still some glare. I think I better go read some more, and learn how to adjust my camera better. 

image from www.flickr.com
Obviously, my styling and composing skills are rather lacking still, but I am going to keep practicing. In the meantime, I've got some raspberries and cream to eat. Oh, I thought you might like to see the whole background thingie: 

image from www.flickr.com
Here are the very technical instructions (wherein I probably don't use any of the proper woodworking terminology): I took three 6' fence boards, and sawed each in half. Then I cut a couple pieces of 1×2 boards that I also had laying around to the width of the three boards together. I sanded everything and laid three boards down, wrong side up. I put wood glue along one side of one of the 1×2 boards, and positioned it across the three boards. I tried to just nail the 1×2 to the fence boards, but the nails just wouldn't go in, so I used my smallest drill bit (1/16") to drill through them (two holes for each fence board) and then pounded the nails in. After doing this four times, my drill bit broke, so I went up to the next one, and hoped it wasn't too big. Luckily, it wasn't so I continued to add the second 1×2 to the other end. Then I placed the remaining three fence boards on top of the 1×2's, and did the same thing again, except instead of the nails going from the 1×2's into the fence boards, I went through the fence boards into the 1×2's. the nails I used had flat heads, and this is the side that I painted, so they show a little through the paint. I was going for rustic, so this doesn't bother me, but I probably could have used finishing nails and counter-sunk them and used a little wood filler to hide them. Then I painted and sanded the one side. I've left the other side naked so far, but I may stain or wax it eventually. This is so much nicer than my ugly green counter tops for taking pictures of food (and maybe other things too!). 

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50mm

 Birdie

I'm sewing today, just because I can (Happy President's Day!). I'm also practicing taking pictures with my new 50mm f/1.8 lens. I went the bargain route, so it doesn't have auto-focus. I have to do it all on my own. It's quite a challenge.

 Hankies 

One sewing project: hankies! Just for fun. I found this woven plaid at Joann last fall. It's soft, soft cotton, so it will feel nice against my nose. I love vintage hankies, but I can never bring myself to use them, but this fabric was on sale, super cheap, so I don't think I mind if they get a little snotty.

 Eggs 

Look at those dreamy eggs!

And this sweet dog:

 Thatdog 

I may need to adjust the aperture for shots like this. Still, he's so cute.

 Needles 

This one is actually from a few days ago, when the snow was melting. I like water droplets. 
 
 
 
 

 

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pumpkin patch day

Today Winston and I went to Summers Past Farms for Pumpkin Patch Day. The pumpkin field is small, but there were still lots of pumpkins to choose from. I picked this pretty Cinderella pumpkin right off the vine.

 Winstonpumpkin
I have been using my iPhone camera more than my Nikon lately, and I've got a couple favorite camera apps that really make a difference. For taking pictures I like Darkroom Premium. It waits until you're holding your phone steady to snap the shutter, so pictures come out nice and crisp. The photo above has no other effects, it's straight out of the camera. All the editing programs are fun too. Tiltshift Generator is a current favorite. Look, mini pumpkins!

 Pumpkins 

And the Best Camera app is pretty great too. It has all sorts of fun filters you can apply and stack and re-order for different effects. It would be nice if they added the ability to adjust the intensity of the features, but maybe they'll add that eventually. After the pumpkin patch we went to a beekeeper meetup in Balboa Park, and I took a picture of this tree:

 Prehistoric 

I used the Jewel, Candy, Vignette, and Frame filters. Not bad for a 3 megapixel camera and a $2.99 app, right? There are lots of good, free apps too. I wrote about a few just the other day, if you're interested. 

Now that I see my pictures big on my computer screen, I feel like I had a pretty productive and successful photography day, if I do say so myself.

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productive

Today I covered my camera strap with cute fabric.

Strap1 

It was a vintage wool Liberty of London tie I had squirreled away, waiting for just the right project. I really love it.

Strap2 

I was feeling like I haven't been very productive lately, but I actually have been working on some things. I'm just a little scattered right now.

Creativemess 

Two little softies will be on their way to Australia this week for a new book, and I've finally figured out a pattern for the pink and brown quilt I need to make.

My new little layer, on the other hand, has been very productive. One of her very first eggs was a double yolker

Double 

And two last words: Greek Nachos. Yum. Okay, that was three words. 

Nachos

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tall

I like giraffes, don't you? Maybe it's because they are tall that I find them so appealing. I do not, however, have quite as long a neck.

Giraffe

This is from my trip to the Boise Zoo last month. It's a nice little zoo, and I had fun getting photography tips from my brother as we walked around. It was like we had our own little photo safari.

I've been working on my jelly roll quilt. 126 triangles down, 78 more to go. I've started putting pieces up on my design wall and I think I'm going to love this quilt. I really like creating my own originals, sorting through fabric and finding just the right combination, but sometimes it's so nice to just let someone else do all the thinking work, and just enjoy the patchwork zone that I get into, cutting, sewing and pressing.

Winston is laying on his back, paws in the air, and just started wagging his tail for no apparent reason. He's such a happy dog, I can't help but smile when I'm around him. Yesterday morning I was loading the car with bags for Good Will. I left it open while I went back in the house to get ready for work. When I cam back out to leave, a good 20 minutes later, there he was, sitting in the driver's seat, ready to go! I was tempted to take him with me to work, but it wouldn't have been much fun for him to lay under my desk all day.

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