Monday, December 21, 2009

Everyone's Talking Photography!

OK...just to piggy back on yesterday's of my other fave bloggers, Centsational Girl, posted today about photos and blogging...

Our minds must've been in the exact same place this weekend. She has some good tips about uploading pictures. I'll have to check out Windows Live Writer because I, too, despise uploading pictures to Blogger. Don't even get me started. I'm thrilled to know there's another way.

Check CG out if yesterday's post didn't send you into a coma. She also has a disdain for flash that I forgot to mention also. I use it only in extreme circumstances--John's school program was one of those "extreme" circumstances. Natural light is my friend. And she is also a big fan of PW...but who isn't? The woman is amazing.

This should prove that it's really not's the camera....and a little photo editing to thank for purty pictures.

And whoever posted yesterday that came through as High Altitude will you please let me know who you are?! So curious and you should join us when we do the LL class :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

This Is It

This post may bore some...uh....most of you so you have my permission to breeze past it but I've had a lot of questions asking me about the DSLR camera that I got for Christmas (early). I've been through quite an exhaustive research process since August including rentals, trying out different lenses, and asking friends who are photography-literate for advice.

I am by no means an authority but I'll just tell you that I ended up with the Nikon D90. I went with Nikon because that's what I had rented from our friend, Brad. Most people I know have Canons but I went with Nikon because that's what I was familiar with and I didn't want to re-learn another camera. And because I'm not a Rebel (get it? that was a weird joke). Most people have told me that the two brands are pretty much equals in the DSLR world.

I bought the 18-105mm lens that comes with the camera even though I didn't necessarily want to use this as my primary lens but for the cost of the two together it was a good buy. And this lens will be very useful for travel or vacations.

However, I knew that lens wasn't going to give me the pictures I wanted to get of my kids in indoor settings (which is mostly what I am shooting these days). So I bought a Nikkor 35mm f1.8 lens. This is THE lens (for me). I know there are better/faster/more expensive lenses out there but for my purposes this one is great. You can read Kenny Rock's review here for the lens and here for the camera. This is my new virtual photography friend. I read his website before buying anything to see what he says. Not sure why I deemed him the authority but in my little mind he is The Camera Sensei.

Without boring you with technical jargon this lens takes clear pictures in low light. It's fantabulous and it is the only lens I've been using on my camera since I got it. The only thing is that it doesn't zoom in or out but that isn't really an issue. You "zoom with your feet" as the pros would say. Or I can crop a picture closer up in Photoshop.

Which brings me to another issue. Many people have commented on how "great" my pictures are. Weeeeeelllllll, I do cheat a teeny weeny bit. I usually mess with the pictures a bit in Photoshop Elements to make a good picture a better picture. I pick up little tricks and tidbits from one of my fave blogs....The Pioneer her. She is like a 21st century renaissance woman. On a side note: One day I somehow got caught up in the novela-esque blog post series that is her love story, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, of how she met her hours later I had not even read through half of it and never did finish it. Phew! Good luck to any of you that start reading it because it is written so well that you just get hooked and want to keep reading and I'm sure you have other things to do with those 3 hours like I did! Anyways, I digress....

The last step on this photography journey is taking a Leisure Learning class sometime soon to really unleash the power of my camera because I know I'm not using it to it's full potential so after that class maybe I'll have more to say? Hope that helps anyone who is in the market for a DSLR!

Monday, December 14, 2009

O Christmas Tree

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

Ok, regular readers, bear with me. I'm attending some Bloggy Christmas Parties over at Thrifty Decor Chick and The Nesting Place ...I love these things....

Here is my Christmas Tree.

I had soooo many ideas for "easy" projects in my head going into December that I almost made myself crazy. But reality struck and I only did a few of the projects that I had planned to do. But I'm at peace with that. This tree truly is thrifty. Time consuming, yes, but quite thrifty.

I was infatuated with tags and hand-stamped muslin ribbon this year. I saw a lot of this stuff on Etsy. In fact, I bought these cute little tags from Paper Eclectiques and used them as ornaments for the tree. LUUUUV this idea. I might buy some more for next year

I bought these tags from Creations by Minda. Have I mentioned how much I love Etsy and all the hand-crafted unique items you can get on there? It's like a year-round, 24-hour Nutcracker Market (which I missed this year, by the way!!)

I saw a lot of hand-stamped muslin but I just made that myself. I was eager to experiment with tea-staining to make the muslin look old. I bought several yards of muslin which is DIRT cheap and just cut long strips of it, soaked it in tea for a few hours, let it dry, then stamped it with a few different stamps, and Voila! My own custom ribbons....

I added some little rhinestones on the snowflake stamp because I love me some sparkly (read: this took way too much time BUT I like the way it turned out)

Couldn't resist these sparklies at Target

My little tree topper

It is a well-documented fact that I am fabric addict and hoarder. I found this music note fabric at HobLob and it was 50% off so I bought the whole rest of the bolt (3 yards) and decided I would find some use for it. When I brought it home Kyle gave me the idea to make bows out of it. Uh-huh, I said KYLE gave me the idea. He has lived with me for long enough to know how my brain works. I stared at him incredulously and said "YOU'RE A GENIUS! I THINK I WILL!"

Here's an up close

Here are some non-tree ornament vase

My bows and ribbon proudly displaying all our Christmas cards

My tiny trees on the mantle....again used the snowflake tags and Kyle-suggested bows to decorate these

Dining room table centerpeice

Thanks for sticking with me through this post!