Stop and Smell the Flowers

I know what you were thinking since my previous post. That you wanted to see more pictures of the flowers in the perennial beds.  Lucky for your I have been playing with my camera so you can see what is actually growing back there.  And for me to refer back to in when I am feeling dreary in the winter. 












And there is is still a whole lot more that I am sparing you from as I am thinking ‘flowers” are giving “dogs” a run for their money in the most frequent photo subject in our house.  Do you have a favorite?  Or something else I should add next year?


When Wide is a Good Thing

I admit….I am a total photography newbie.  But I have been having fun playing with my Canon DSLR since I received it at Christmas.  And honestly have been pretty happy with the results considering….shhhh…. I really did not know what I was doing.

But something just came in the mail that rocked my world.  Especially considering it has not been on my camera for more than two hours.

Any guesses?

Well remember how I always make excuses for poor pictures in smallish spaces like closets and laundry rooms?

They looked something like this-


Standing in the exact same place I now have this-


That’s right a wide angle lens (a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 to be exact)!IMG_1161

This was purchased with our Italy trip in mind knowing that I would need a whole lot of practice before I would be ready to capture sites like Tuscany and the Florence skyline. I thought it also might come in handy in shooting stuff for the blog, but I had no idea what a difference it would make.  Bad news (for me at least) all of my current room pics are now unsatisfactory and I need to retake them.  That may require some straightening up around the house.

We chose this lens because of this incredibly helpful article on Fly Through Our Window, Amazon reviews, the Tamron 17-50mm Flickr group and pricing Canon wide angle at a local store.  We were really close to buying it on Amazon, when Derek found a couple used ones on Ebay.  After a couple of days of auction stalking he was the proud winner for a lower cost.

Something else that has helped my wannabe photographer skills is this (free) 12 week online course that I found via the blog Twenty-Six to Life.  I have not joined an actual group going through the tutorial, but I printed them all out and learning so much going through it at my own pace.  It is very straightforward and walks you through concepts one at a time with practice on your camera.  Because of this I can now shoot in the manual mode.  Big accomplishment for me. It is the perfect companion to a book such as Understanding Exposure

I am not making any promises, but I hope all of this learning makes a difference in my photos.  Now off to do some vacuuming to get the rooms ready to be seen in wide angle…..


Flower Power

I may of mentioned it before, but I loooove spring and summer. 

It may have something to do with the flowers.  Doing dishes or responding to emails is suddenly more fun when there are bits of prettiness from your garden next to you.   Bonus points if they smell like roses.


I used to try to make these elaborate arrangements and only buy plants that would be perfect for cut flowers.  But that took too long and I had lots of plants that did not fit that mold.   And let’s be honest, floral designing is not one of my gifts.

Now I just keep a cabinet full of random vases ready for the flowers of the season.   And a pair of clippers right by the back door so every afternoon I can see what is inspiring me to come inside.


Votive holders and any old glass jar work just as well.  I have found that I use my shallower ones the most often as they do not require a long stem so any bloom can float.  Like simple shrub roses and marigolds-


But I have to admit that in my opinion nothing can beat a red long stemmed rose.  And now that I have my new camera I can bore you to death with pictures of them.



Bored yet? I will try to restrain myself in the future and keep the pictures to myself.

And for those in my neck of the woods that are wondering how I have a rose in full bloom already, I will admit that I cheated….slightly.  You see when I cut the flower the plant was firmly planted along side our deck.   However, it was bought from the store yesterday and that is why it is blooming.  We lost one rose last year and this is it’s replacement.   With the insanely cold winter we had, I am pleasantly surprised that a single rose was the only plant we lost. 

But I will just pretend that it all had to do with my amazing gardening skills and not the fact that I actually killed the plant. 


Spring Break!

Even though my flight was delayed three hours, I was 10 seconds from being embarrassingly airsick and it rained the entire time, my Spring Break Trip to D.C. to visit my college roomie was spectacular because…..

IMG_0719Isn’t she the cutest baby ever? 

Just in case you can’t decide here is some more pics…IMG_0667(1)

And with her beautiful mommy…IMG_0724

In case you still can’t decide…email me.  I have over 100 more pictures to make my case.  I was so busy snapping pics of baby that I somehow missed getting a picture of Katie and I.  Ouch.

I also brought with me her first birthday present, a new fun quilt.IMG_0676(1)

This was by far the most difficult pattern I have attempted thus far.  And I am happy with the results, but it is not perfect.  I titled it appropriately “Learning Experience.”

I used the free Off the Grid  pattern on Moda Bake Shop with Hunky Dory Fabrics by Chez Moi.  I thought the fun prints and colors were perfect for a little girl.

And the back-


And the best pictures of a quilt…being loved by a baby-IMG_0664

Oh the leggings…IMG_0670


And let me share this insanely creative idea for making incredibly cute big blocks inexpensively for babys that Katie came up with.  Use shoeboxes and cover them with scrapbook/wrapping paper and clear packing tape. Genius!


I am not up on my baby crafts, but I thought that was so creative and thrifty.  She was always the crafty one of the two of us.

Of course we did some home decor and fabric shopping during the visit.  I gave Katie her first sewing lesson….and let’s just say we chose a project that was a little tough for her teeny tiny sewing machine.  I was forbidden from taking pics of this and hopefully we can try again next time

Derek is happy to report that since I had to get back on a plane I was not able to buy anything of substance on our escapades.  But Katie scored this amazing mid century modern screen that she plans on using as a headboard from a store called Modernicus.  And it was only $125.  If you are in the DC area and love authentic mid century modern pieces, you will love this store. 

And they helped us wrestle into her Camry in the rain….double score.

And now for your parting gift….IMG_0773



My New Toy

I know you have all been waiting on pins and needles to see what I got for Christmas and checking the blog hourly hoping I was going to update it. 

Ready?  Here's a hint...the last week my new nickname has been "paparazzi."

A new Digital SLR camera...the Canon Rebel T1i to be exact.  Whoo Hoo!

Actually it would be accurate to say that I received money for me to buy the camera at our "first Christmas".  So when we got home last weekend I was thinking about ordering it, but thought I would just do it after the holidays since we would be traveling and I did not want to miss the package.

That was before I saw that BH Photo had free overnight shipping right before Christmas.....

So on the 23rd after hitting refresh on the package status once every five minutes and not showering in case I missed the USP man waiting patiently this baby arrived.

Which quickly turned into this....

And then unfortunately this...

So why a Canon?  A couple of reasons.... like I really like the fact that it is capable of shooting HD video and it has tons a great reviews.  But the main reason is this......

I had the film version of the Rebel years ago and lens are interchangeable.

Sadly I never used the film version to it's full potential (as in never went into the modes where you actually had to adjust things) because frankly it is a pretty steep learning curve when you are paying for film and processing and don't get immediate feedback if you totally messed it up or not.  Also the controls required a lot more knowledge because there was not a huge screen.

So it has been collecting dust for the last couple of years while I have been using a point and shoot Sony Powershot.

Until now.....

But as a warning just because I have a new fancy camera, don't expect the pictures to all of a sudden be stellar.....I have a lot of learning to do and two uncooperative furry friends to do it on.  Here are some of my favorites from this weekend  (I have not picked nor figured out editing software yet, so these pics are straight from the camera).

My current thing that I LOVE about this camera.....there is no pause between pressing the button and the picture snapping so you can capture things like this....