Winter urns, part II

Friday, November 30, 2012 by
Well.  Here are the humble beginnings of this project.  Is anyone else inspired by this?  (Besides The Dog?)  Pile of materials, plenty of Pinterest pins, endless magazine articles at my disposal.  No excuse not to get the job done. 
But in fact, the best thing that ever happened to me in the decorative urn department, was winning a silent auction prize of having my urns done for me a few summers ago.  My friend of incredible talent and impeccable taste purchased all the plant material and then showed me how to put it together to be stunning and beautiful.  My life has never been the same.  Now I go boldly to the garden centre, choose things like I know what I’m doing, and create as if I were a pro.  It’s a lot of fun.
Here is the front porch after the first one.  Yikes what a mess.  Still inspired?
Can I just say, that as I was working, the temperature dipped several degrees below freezing, the sun disappeared behind black clouds, The Dog ate one of the fingers off my gardening glove, and it started to snow heavily.
Yay!  Done.  One on the front porch, one on each side of the driveway, one on the back deck.  And nothing left.  (Well, one magnolia branch…to be used inside.)  Even had to snip a few boughs of cedar and yew from the yard to finish the last one.  Oh well, that’s what they’re there for.  Hopefully I have done my incredibly talented and impeccably tasteful friend/teacher proud.
Bring on winter.

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Photography Class: Interior Available Light

Saturday, November 24, 2012 by
Interior | Available Light | Twinkle Lights in a Teen's Bedroom |

Well, this tells you a lot about Miss Personally.  The fact that she loves this photo and promptly made it her Facebook cover photo tells you even more.  She snagged this string of lights as soon as the lights came out for Up on the Housetop.

So the assignment for this shot was:  A descriptive image of any room in your home.  Make a statement.  Use only available light and show deep depth of field.  (In non-tech-y words that means no flash, and everything in the frame is focused.)  The verbal instructions in class were Do not tidy up your living room and take a pretty photo.  Good thing.  That might have been even harder.
So mission accomplished technically, along with elements of design, histogram, blah blah blah.  But even better, I think it makes a statement about Miss Personally loving Christmas.

But really, it’s so much more than that.  Merry Christmas!

xo andrea

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Urns: Winter edition

Well, this was the scene on the back deck early this morning.  Yes, snow.  And looks like The Dog managed to paw through it before I was able to get my camera out.  So much for fresh-fallen.  But I guess I must concede that winter is indeed on it’s way…
…meanwhile, this is the sad state of affairs in the “decorative urn” department.
Sadness indeed.  Note particularly the entirely dead contents of urn #2, and the incredibly wilted red sweet potato vine in urn #3.  Not to mention, pumpkins.  Seriously.
Clearly something must be done.  Except not today.  Maybe tomorrow?  Nope…Grey Cup party. 
Happily, I’ve at least been inspired by this excellent purchase from my fave local IKEA. 
I discovered these last year.  They are cheap, versatile, trendy…but they sell out like hotcakes!  So if you find them, stock up!  Also available in white/silver combination which has inspired my indoor tree. (Coming soon.)  I’ve used them for PersonallyPackaged, gift wrapping, mantel decoration, centrepieces, flower arrangements…you get the idea.  Stock up.
Urns:  Winter edition part 2…also coming soon.

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Life of Pi

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 by
What a great book!  I read it after it won the Giller Prize once upon a time.  Perfect tension between the magical and real, with no answers as to which one is the stronger.  Brilliant.

So here's the thing:  the movie version by Ang Lee is being released today! Awesome!  Never expected it could be done, and to boot it is being HIGHLY rated...four stars from the Globe and Mail!  

So here's really the thing:  I have (so far) successfully instituted a rule in this house that you read the book before you watch the movie.  

Alright, I made one exception for Lord of the Rings, which Teenaged Son (who was not Teenaged at the time) had not yet read.  And is, in fact, STILL reading...but I digress...

I do WANT to take The Teenagers to see this film, but guess what? Yes.  Neither of them has read the book.  Although I have been throwing it in their direction for years...yes years...there it sits.  Charmingly displayed on Teenaged Daughter's shelf with other colour-co-ordinated books which have all been read and a matching piggy bank.

And Teenaged Son will be studying it in English this year and I said See, I told you you should have read it!

All to no avail.  So, what to do?  It seems possible that my influence in this area is waning, and my angst is being noticed by no one but me...


But seriously, you really should read it. Really.

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Assignment #1 Shot 4 Twirly Leaf

Last shot…what’s left?  Small aperture.  Everything in the frame must be sharply focused, from front to back, and background not distracting from the subject..
Mission accomplished, and got an A on this one too!!!
Have to say I am personally biased towards loving this photo, cuz that’s my girl!  And since she was actually at home during daylight hours and willing to co-operate with Mom’s homework, well we experimented a little and this was the result.  I wanted the red leaf in the centre of the frame so I had to play with the point of view for a while.
(I actually wanted a bigger leaf, but apparently I don’t have a bigger leaf tree growing on our property.  Have to see what I can do about that.)
Love how you can see that she’s twirling the leaf while she’s waiting for me to get the right shot. Did I mention?  That’s my girl!

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Candy Box

Monday, November 19, 2012 by
Gotta have something for the sweet tooth, right?  Who wouldn’t want this little box sitting on the corner of their desk?  A little minty-ness for after lunch..something to offer the visitors to your cubicle…the boss casually passing by…

A sturdy cardboard cylindrical box with a fitted lid ( a mini hatbox!) with 500ml individually wrapped Saybon scotch mints inside.  Delivered to your door if at all possible.
Of course, beautifully packaged in clear cellophane, with hand decorated gift tag, and deluxe wired ribbon.
Now there is a classy little way to say “Merry Christmas…I appreciate you!”

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Assignment #1 Shot 3 Fall

OK so who can guess what the requirements were for this shot???? 
It was large aperture, subject in the foreground in sharp focus, background related to subject but in soft focus.  Easy peasy…these are the kinds of photos I love taking, especially outdoors in soft light. I submitted this one just cuz it had other techy stuff going for it like rule of thirds, converging lines, texture, a few specular highlights because of the water, and the all important histogram was perfect.
The reason I like this one?  These are the steps from our back deck (which we designed and built ourselves) down into the yard, a place where I spend I lot of time…good time…and so it is near and dear to my heart.  Love it decorated with fallen, wind-blown, rained-on, scattered leaves.
This is home.
(By the way, got an A on this one.  Yay me.)

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Mason jars

Sunday, November 18, 2012 by
Love mason jars.

Never did figure out (yet) how to get tomatoes or pickles or anything useful into them.  But don't they look pretty like this? 

So this is the first set of "gift baskets" done...

...500 ml unscented bath salts in the mason jar, lid covered with burlap (cuz it's trendy), hand-lettered tag tied on with twine (also trendy), chocolate-mint scented Yankee Candle votive (for a scent of chocolate while in the bath...more slimming than eating chocolate!), and a seashell just for fun.

It gets wrapped up in clear cellophane as always and tied up with a hand-decorated tag and deluxe two-inch wired gold ribbon.

Lovely!  For something slightly more than a card and a "thank-you" this Christmas.    Delivered right to you, if at all possible.  Quantities pretty unlimited for this one so order as many as you need.
Start crossing off your Christmas to-do list!

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Assignment #1 Shot 2 Freeze Frame

This shot worked out WAY fact this is maybe one of the best pictures I've ever made!  Woo hoo!  The requirements for this were fast shutter and small aperture, so that motion is "frozen" and everything in the frame is sharply in focus. 

I went down to the beach at Rattray Marsh on Lake Ontario and set up at the edge of the water.  It was a gorgeous day and I actually took a ton of photos.  The sun was sparkly (as you can see in the top corner), there was a beautiful family of swans swimming in the lake, and hawks were soaring above the trees overhead.  Incredible peace.

Saw this seagull at the edge of the water and knew he would take off eventually so I set up my exposure and framing and waited.  Voila...mission accomplished.

One sad side-note:  I lost one of the pieces of my mini portable tri-pod through the boardwalk into the marsh.  Now it's a bi-pod.  Boo.

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