Friday, December 28, 2012

Baby Photography and ShootFLYShoot: How I finally Learned to Use my DSLR and You Can Too

Hey kids. I've been way too busy Christmasing to post recently, but I took some pictures this week that were just too freaking adorable to keep to myself.

Isn't that just the cutest little sock monkey hat you've ever seen? It's even cuter when the two of us where them at the same time, but I don't have that documented.

Austin really wanted to get some pictures of her with he light saber, but really good ones haven't quite happened yet. For some reason they turned out pretty well with her new paint brush toy though.

And then yesterday I took some pictures of Norie practicing her almost crawl while I was working on some other stuff. 

I am so happy I decided to take the shootFLYshoot Photography 101 course and learned how to use my camera.

It only took me 7 years. Yep, seven whole years. Not the actual learning. That only took a couple of hours thanks to Kevin and Josh, but it took me seven years to do something about the fact that I didn't know how to use my camera. Sound familiar?

My husband bought me an amazing Cannon EOS Rebel DSLR as a graduation gift circa 2005. I had never used anything but a point and shoot before, but had a lot of fun with the program settings. They worked pretty well and I liked the pictures I took on vacations of landscapes and flowers and other pretty outside stuff.

Then I started a blog and wanted to take pictures inside. It was a whole new ballgame and my pictures were okay at best. Mostly they looked like were amateur shots taken with the flash in poorish lighting. I knew they weren't great, but I didn't know how to do any better.

One day Layla over at The Lettered Cottage linked to a series of posts by Centsational Girl about blog photography. I read them and got motivated to try my hand at shooting in manual mode. I busted out my camera's manual and figured out how to adjust the settings she mentioned to the ones she used, but since I had no idea what they did I couldn't adjust them to the picture I was trying to take. I was lost.

Then Layla's husband Kevin started a photography website called ShootFLYShoot.
I liked the facebook page and added the RSS feed for their blog to my Google Reader, but I didn't actually sign up and pay for their Photography 101 course. I wasn't quite ready to commit. I mean, it was $69 whole dollars.

The conversation in my head went something like this.

$69? That's kind of a lot of money. Like more than half a week of day care. Can I really justify spending that much?

Then I realized that I wasn't able to use my several hundred dollar camera the way I wanted to because I was too cheap to spend 69 bucks.

I bit the proverbial bullet an paid for their Photography 101 course. It was totally worth it. probably the single best $69 I have ever spent. Kevin and Josh are amazing and I actually understand what all those setting do.

I feel like my own personal photo taking super hero. Not that I'm suddenly a professional photographer. I'm not, but I do know how to take a great blog or baby scrapbook pic.I''m sure it helps that my baby is ridiculously adorable, but I take credit fir that too.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What to do...

I don't know if you've noticed, but I use this blog as a place to sort out my thinking about as much as I use it to tell you about cool stuff or post tutorials. That's just how it is. At the moment there is one big thing I need to sort out, that I haven't really thought out. That's not good since that One Big Thing happens in six days.

We're hosting Christmas and to be honest I haven't thought it out the way I should have. I asked my sister, the planner, if she could share any helpful spreadsheets from when she hosted and to my dismay she claims they don't exist. I'm pretty sure that's not the case or is only the case because she lost the files somewhere, but she did share a helpful nugget of wisdom: Planning Christmas can pretty much be broken down into Food, Gifts, and Decorations. I think I need to add Experiences (like finding a church with carol/hymn heavy  service to attend on Christmas Eve - if you know of a good one in Wamego, KS let me know. Otherwise we might head to Manhattan to the closest ELCA church).

So, Food, Gifts, and Decorations....

Food - I have this under control I think. Thanks entirely to being forced to sort it out at Thanksgiving.

Gifts - Yeah, not so much, but since the people I'm buying them for read this blog I shouldn't really get into them.

Decorating - This is where Steve, my ever rational office mate laughed and said, "You can't do it in the last six days." He's right. I can't do everything I ever hoped to get done in the last six days especially since I really need to clean the house. Or at least the guestroom/office/craft room. My siblings-in-law and their kids are staying with us and right now that room is well, terrifying.

I guess that's my answer: Clean.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

JOY Sign Transformation

Guess what? I finally started Christmas decorating and I can't resist a close up of anything shiny. 

I made this JOY sign last year. I was never really happy with it was so meh about it I never even finished it. When I pulled it out of the basement it looked like this.

Meh, right? A couple of night ago I revamped it.

First, I pulled off the pine cones and holly stuff. Meh.

Then I gave it a brush down with a brighter green.

Better already, right?

I thought so, but I wanted some bling. Cue tiny Christmas balls my mom picked up while thrifting and some I bought off Craigslist. I also painted over the off white on the J and Y with gesso. I didn't have any white paint.

Just two short hours of hemming and hawing over the placement of every single individual ball (and one serious hot glue burn) later I had this.

It makes me super happy. it's so shiny.

Now, if I can just get up some other decorations so he doesn't seem so lonely.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I don't know if you've noticed, but I've been feeling more like pinning than posting lately. I'm an ideas person and I've been getting a LOT of ideas lately. I've also been spending quite a bit of time Christmasing (yes, Christmasing is a word. The gerund form of Christmas to be exact). As a result, not so much on the actual post front.

There are, however, a couple of interesting happens I'm sure you want to know about.

First, Norie has two front teeth. Lower central incisors to be specific. They both showed up above the gum this week. :)

Apparently sucking on cold aluminum cans helps.

In other news, we went shopping and found plenty of fun hats.

I think they were a little more fun for me than Norie. We settled on the owl hat to go with her poncho.

AND got our picture taken with Santa. She was more interested in his watch than his face and he looks like he's asleep in the photo, but she didn't freak out so I'm calling it a win.

No wonder I haven't felt like I had time to post.

Friday, December 7, 2012

He just gets me

It's been a week since my last post. There have been some stomach virus and/or food allergy issues in my household that have put all nonessential activities on the back burner.

Luckily, last night Norie ate nothing but wheat cereal (rice is on the list of potential food allergies) and breast milk and slept for 7 solid hours. I'm refreshed and awake and ready to do productive things like post to my blog.

That counts as productivity, right?

Anyways, the point of my post is that my husband just gets me. He understands exactly who I am and must love me for it. I don't give him enough credit for that. Don't get me wrong, he loves to get me all riled up and generally does at least once a day, but I think that's because he realizes I need to be challenged. I would get bored otherwise.

So what brought on this heightened sense of  appreciation for my mate?

He bought me multi-colored Christmas lights.

He bought them several years ago, before I had important realizations about what my style really is.

He bought them when I responded with a, "Thanks, babe" that made it clear that while I appreciated the effort I thought white lights were better. I didn't even put them on the tree. I got white ones instead and pretended the boxes of multi-colored ones weren't there. Ouch, right? What can I say, directness about stuff like this is not my strong suit. (Sidenote: my brain just made a portmanteau of "strong suit" and "forte" which lead to me originally typing "forsuit.")

So now that I know what I actually like and I'm going with it those same lights are on the tree soon to be followed by some sweet rainbow colored ornaments I got off Craigslist. If Norie decides to sleep again tonight I just might have the tree decorated by the end of the night. 


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