Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fun Days Ahead!

Posie gets to ride the airplane home with Grandpa for a nice long visit soon. I don't know who is more excited Grandpa or Posie or the Mom who gets a bit of a break from two year old drama and will spend some special time with Posie's big brother. I know that not seeing the grandkids often is one of the pains of living here in Arizona when they are all in Utah. I guess I had better start gathering favorite foods and some toys to keep us both busy and happy.


Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act? Really what is the government protecting us from? Do they really think that people at sewing machines or with knitting needles or crochet hooks in hand are a danger to children? How can destroying a one of a kind heirloom in the testing process of the fabric thread or yarn enrich a family's memories when the item never was any danger in the first place and people with common sense know that?

To read an article with more information you can go here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

In Common

President Obama and I have a couple things in common. One of them I knew about and the other I just learned. We both have mothers from Kansas. That is what I already knew. When looking at this picture of him signing a visitor's book at the Supreme Court I discovered that like me he is left handed.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I Did It!

I am the world's worst when it comes to procrastination even to my own detriment. I can meet the deadlines of others with no problem but I cheat on myself. If I tell you for example that I will do something for you on Tuesday it will be done. I get distracted by the little details that can make things perfect rather than just going for it.

I have got my first listing up in my Art Fire shop. The intention was to list two or three things each week starting the first of January. You see what I mean about personal procrastination? I am behind.
The first listing is a shawl I named Warm Fog. Strange name, I know but it has colors of rusty orange and gray in it. The pictures are just okay and I know it. The colors are fairly true at least on my monitor but I want the shots to be better. I got to thinking about how I could take those lovely pictures where the backgrounds are blurred and softened and the product stands out against it and to get the best light of course I need to be outside. I really don't want the back fence to show so sharply. So after camera manual reading, online searches and hours of practicing in changing the depth of field I am closing in on the kind of product images I want for my things.
I plan the shawl above to be my second listing on Art Fire. I was pleased to get this shot late in the afternoon yesterday and then I ran out of light before I could pose it in different ways. The background is gently blurred and the shawl stands out. That is what I was looking for!

Practice and Learning

One of the things I am determined to do this year is make better use of our camera. We have a couple point and shoots that are light and easy to carry when traveling but I am not talking about those. We own a Nikon D70. Jim bought it for himself a few years ago. It can take stunning images if you know what you are doing with it. I believe that it is the best camera we own for taking product images for my shops but I have barely scratched to surface on how to use it to my advantage.

The technique I have been working on the past couple days is using depth of field to show off an item. The shot above is inside and badly lit I know. What I was pleased with was that the little vase it the star and the background it softly out of focus. I love to read but you have no idea how long it took with a strange new vocabulary in the camera manual to make this happen. FStops, aperature, focal points and so on until I just got the camera and started taking pictures. The little vase was even taken without a tripod so I am surprised at how clear it is.

However the real problem started when I didn't want a picture of an itty bitty thing sitting on a coffee table. Using our regular lens for the larger things like my shawls just wasn't happening. The background just wouldn't fade away like I wanted it to. I may have been able to stick with it but instead I decided to try something else. Looking online about how to get this type of image I saw different lenses mentioned and I knew we had another lens that Jim always told me was for landscape shots. So I figured out how to change the lens without breaking anything, put a shawl on Miss Molly, got out the tripod, set up the mannequin on the patio and backed up about 15 feet. I am so excited! This is the kind of image I have been looking for and trying to learn!

Take a look and let me know what you think. Today after practicing some more and getting some different poses this shawl will be my second item listed on Art Fire.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Catching Up

I need to catch up on saying thank you to a couple bloggers. These kind ladies provided recipes on their blogs that I used recently and they were hits.

The first was some yummy caramel popcorn from Every Things Blue which is a great blog that shares with its readers on the topics of books, knitting, crocheting and the occassional recipe like the caramel corn. Thank you! I made this and took it to a dinner on Christmas Day and it was a hit!

The next recipe was for this caramel dipping sauce for fruit. It comes from the blog Whimsy Girl. I lightened it up a bit with fat free cream cheese, Splenda and the Splenda brown sugar blend. I used it as a drizzle on top of a Dutch Apple Pie. It reminded me of the Cinnabon Apple Pie you can get in the freezer case at grocery stores. Husband liked it enough to have it for breakfast one morning so that means it must be good. Thank you for sharing it!

Personally Yours

Isn't this growth chart cute? It comes from a site with a lot of personalized things for kids. What kind of things you ask? You did ask right? Well how about personalized books, coloring books, placemats, posters, journals or growth charts like the one I showed you here? Each of these things come in several different styles for boys or girls or designs that could be gender neutral. Could be just the thing when looking for a gift for a son, daughter, niece, nephew or grandchild.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

For a Blue Lady

Do you remember the song with the line "I want some red roses for a blue lady"? My mind makes silly associations sometimes so forgive me if it doesn't amuse you. Today I am going to show you some of my favorite blue things from the shop Rose Works Jewelry.

The word associations may be downright silly but the jewelry is downright beautiful. Take a look and see if you don't agree.

These are just a small glimpse of the beautifully crafted jewelry in the Rose Works shop. If you are interested you can keep up with all the latest news from this artist on her blog.

To learn more about the EtsyBloggers, of which Ruthie is a very active member and our featured blogger of the month of January, you can take a look at the team blog. We feature a new EtsyBlogger each week, recognize birthdays and announce important events like our biweekly blog carnivals.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Smart and Forgetful

blog readability test

Movie Reviews

I found this quick little evaluation to be a bit surprising. I found the link on Musings of Mommy Bee. Not too shabby a result for a girl who only was in college for a couple semesters before she met a certain sailor who whisked away from all that to live on Guam and start a family.

While basking in the glow of pride I have to admit something about the certain sailor. It seems, as I was informed by my daughter Cindy, that I forgot to post about his birthday on Sunday. He never wants much fuss made over him on that day but it was remembered. We had one of his favorite dinners, which is his grandmother's spaghetti sauce and garlic bread. He had a carrot cake for dessert. I also found some reed diffusers for his office at home and the one at work. He mentioned he had seen them somewhere else and liked the idea.

Being from June to January older than he is I always like it when he catches up to me in age. Then the teasing can stop about me being an old lady!

If you read this blog regularly you will know that I am famous or is that infamous for the pictures I choose of the birthday person. I don't know what he will say about today's picture but I suspect not a thing. He doesn't read my blog because as he puts it I live with you I don't need to read about your life. Oh well.

So here is Grandpa Jim with all six of our grandkids in the picture on Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Year Project

A year ago, actually a bit more than that, we hired someone to put in a tile floor for us in the family room and on into the adjoining dining area and kitchen. The job also included the master bath. For one reason or another the guy we hired walked off the job. We found out later that he had written a bad check to the tile company 2 days after we had given him more than enough a deposit to cover materials. Being afraid to hire another poerson that would disappoint us Jim decided to finish the job himself. He completed the living room, the fireplace, dining area and kitchen working on it a bit at a time between hip and back troubles.

With all of that finished we decided on one more project with the tile that was left. What you see above are the result of some pleasuranble breaking up of the last tile. Below is Jim at work with those last pieces. I wanted an easy to wipe down top for the silly half wall in the family room. From this spot you can see the fireplace where he did the same mosiac idea so it kind if ties the room together.

My part of the process was the grouting and sealing which I did yesterday. Any left over pieces are gone now and Jim says he will NEVER put another piece of tile anywhere again in his life. Floors are all done. The last project is complete!

Now I can move on to getting my shops running and much more active. In getting ready for that I have made some other changes too. My computer is now out in the oh so rarely used formal dining room close to the coat closet I took over for all my shipping supplies as well as my camera, tripods and mannequin. With the computer out of my craft room I now have space to set up a cutting area, ironing area and sewing tables so I can walk right in and go to work anytime.

Now on to a great year!
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