Bridge Over Troubled Waters {Black and White Photography}

Monday, September 30, 2013 by
meadowvale black and white_001
Well it’s a drizzly overcast day here in the ‘burbs today.  But can you remember the fabulous fall weather we’ve been having the last little while?  I hope that some of you were out with your cameras to capture the pretty fall light.  I think it’s the best light of the year for photography…the days are not yet too short, midday is not too harsh, and there is a mellow quality of light from the fading season.

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I was fortunate enough to have a half day to visit a park that’s new to me as a potential photo shoot site.  It was beautiful.   And the obvious thing to do with a camera in a park in the fall is to capture the fall colours.  Which I did.  But truthfully, the fall colours are not as amazing yet as they will be in a few weeks   So here’s a second challenge I gave myself.  Since part of a photo shoot should be presented in black and white, I also took a series of photos with that in mind.

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So a few things to consider.  A black and white photograph will capture the elements of the scene which are graphic and textural, which have interesting lines and silhouettes.  Subject matter like buildings and other man-made structures (bridges) fall into this category.  But also natural elements like rock, moving water, and dried wood for example. 

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And as I mentioned, portrait shoots are also commonly done with some of them in black and white.  Why do you suppose that is?  What does it add to the appreciation of the photo?  Black and whites are also effective when photographing locations with a sense of history or timelessness.  Cobblestone streets, farms, the ocean. 

The question was asked while we were at the park…How many pictures can you take of a bridge?  Well quite a few it seems.  So here’s a secondary bonus lesson.  When you are taking pictures of something that catches your interest, take LOTS.  Take them from a distance, capture the detail up close.  Stand to the left and right, shoot from down low.  You’re sure to end up with some that you love.

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And after you have done all that, don’t miss what’s right beside your main subject, and take a picture of that too.

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I hope I’ve encouraged you to give some black and white photography a try.  I can’t help but be inspired when I can appreciate the world around me in a new way.  You can too…
…personally, Andrea

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Organizing A Student Desk

Thursday, September 26, 2013 by
Once upon a time there was a naive mom who thought that her children’s education would pretty much proceed of it’s own accord and all things academic would work themselves out.  A good school had been chosen, lunches were made, bedtimes were kept, she volunteered in the class.  Marks were fine, and so the mom assumed that all was well.

Organizing a Student Desk | pens, highlighters, calendar |

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Tea-Inspired Party Favour

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 by

Tea-Inspired Party Favour |
If I could come up with a reason to sit and make pretty things to give away all the time, I would.  I’m working on it, believe me!  But when lovely girls come to your home to participate in a photography workshop, for sure they deserve something cute to take home.

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Cookbook Review: Michael Smith Back to Basics

Thursday, September 19, 2013 by
Cookbook Review:  Michael Smith Back to Basics
Who loves Michael Smith?  I sure do.  And I’m proud that he’s Canadian.  The season when his Chef At Home series was on television I made a point of watching it.  And I’m not really a TV Watcher.  His success has grown internationally in a big way since those days.

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Aberfoyle Antique Market

Monday, September 16, 2013 by
Aberfoyle Antique Market |

Happy Monday bloggy friendsl!  How many of you are antique hunters?  Or wanna be antique hunters like me?  Are you usually driving right past all the charming antique shops with family in tow and looking wistfully out the window while they whine Are We There Yet?

Not this time.

Aberfoyle Antique Market |

Pack your suitcase...

This time my lovely friend invited me (just me...yay!) to go antiquing with her on the weekend and I was more than happy to accept.  So come with me on a little trip through the Aberfoyle Antique Mall to see what's fun and inspiring. 

Aberfoyle Antique Market |

Who wouldn’t want to go to Old Pond Circle?  It sounds absolutely perfect. Let's go check it out.  While both of us were on a quest for specific treasures, here is what we wandered through, sorted through and admired in our search…

Aberfoyle Antique Market |

Aberfoyle Antique Market |

Aberfoyle Antique Market |

Aberfoyle Antique Market |

Would anyone like to buy a vowel? 

Of course we were kind of there to stop and smell the roses…and the black-eyed susans too…

Aberfoyle Antique Market |

Aberfoyle Antique Market |

Here is one of the ladders that my friend considered.  What do you think?  Any use for a rustic ladder around your home?  And I loved the patina on those weathered old shutters.

Aberfoyle Antique Market |

I came home with a couple of awesome finds.  Some vintage keys ended up here as part of an IKEA hack. And a distressed tin letter H has yet to be photographed in it's new home...stay tuned. 

Did you see anything you liked? What would have come home with you? 

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Fall Recipe: Carrot Ginger Soup

Thursday, September 12, 2013 by
Carrot Ginger Soup

It seems like every time I put soup on the table for dinner, someone finds a way to work in this quote, No Soup For You (from Seinfeld...remember?), complete with crazy accent, and we all find it hilarious.  Weird.  I don’t even think the kids have seen one episode of Seinfeld, but there you go.  A little slice of life from the Personally household.  Now back to our regular blogging…

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No-Sew Burlap Fall Banner

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 by
Fall leaves photography |
In typical Canadian fashion, the calendar and the thermometer are at odds with each other.  Although it’s September the temperatures are mid-thirty degrees Celsius with about one hundred percent humidity.  Bring on the air-conditioning.

Fall leaves photography |
Still, as we walk outside there are leaves crunching beneath our feet and the evenings are getting dark sooner and sooner.  So I concede to taking down my pretty summer decorations.  At least inside the house.  For now.

Fall Mantel | No-Sew Burlap Banner | Mirror, Chalkboard, Books, Candles |
If you’re like me, then the changing up of decor happens in bits and pieces.  While dinner is in the oven and you’re shouting homework help into another room.  Or way too late at night when the house is already quiet but inspiration has struck.  Here then is a tutorial for a super-quick, easy-peasy, on-the-cheap banner that I made to fill an empty space on the mantel.  Now that my pretty floral wreath is packed away.

Fall Mantel | No-Sew Fall Burlap Banner | Burlap, Twine, Craft Paint |
Instructions and supplies needed…
Number 1, burlap.  The actual garden variety burlap that was wrapping up your cedar shrubs last winter.  Unless you have prettier burlap from the craft store, that’s fine too.  But if you can’t be rustic in the fall then you never can be, so go for it.  Number 2, scissors.  Cut your burlap into flag shapes, either triangle or square, using the Finished edge of the burlap as the top of your shape.  Numbers 3 & 4, craft paint and a paintbrush.  I used Burnt Umber and a foam brush.  Paint one letter onto each flag shape.    Number 5, dollar store twine.  Cut a length long enough to span the top of each flag, plus extra at each end for hanging. 

Traditional Chinese Scissors for Crafts |
Craft Paint and Foam Brush for Burlap |
To assemble, weave the twine through the top/finished edge of each flag.  Use a large needle if it’s helpful.  Use the extra length of twine at each end to hang.  The finished banner is light enough to be supported with masking or painter’s tape.  Or tie it up with pretty bows if the ends are not hidden.

Weaving Twine through Burlap |
No-Sew Burlap Banner for Fall |
Fall Mantel | No-Sew Burlap Banner | Mirror, Chalkboard, Books, Candles |
That will do nicely for this season I think.

And since some books and other wordiness have found their way onto the mantel as well, I leave you with a book-ish quote to ponder for the season.

Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year's mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.  Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose.

…personally, Andrea

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A Visit to Wine Country

Thursday, September 5, 2013 by

A Visit to Wine Country |
Well let’s take a short break from productivity and busy-ness and just sit back and look at pretty pictures, shall we?  This past Labour Day weekend we were happy to accept an invitation from my siblings-in-law to visit Niagara’s wine country.  It was a perfect end-of-summer day, and these pictures are all from Trius Winery at Hillebrand.  We had a tour of the winery and took part in a tasting as well.  Gorgeous way to spend an afternoon.

A Visit to Wine Country |

A Visit to Wine Country |

A Visit to Wine Country |
The buildings are that perfect combination of charming, rustic and historic.  As we head out to the vineyards the views are lush, green and pastoral.

A Visit to Wine Country |

A Visit to Wine Country |
…and we have our wine-tasting right there in the vineyard!  One white, one red, and one icewine.  Mmmmm.  We are taught the correct wine-tasting etiquette, and hear about the geography required for grape growing around the world.

A Visit to Wine Country |
A Visit to Wine Country |

Then we head down inside the winery to see where the barrelling and bottling happen.  The scale of everything is so immense.  And the history behind wine-making is fascinating to hear.

A Visit to Wine Country |

A Visit to Wine Country |
Then back out of the wine cellars…

A Visit to Wine Country |
…and exit through the gift shop. 
Didn’t you love that little tour?  If you live near a wine country of your own, lucky you.  If not you should really make a point of visiting if you can.  I think I’ll pour myself a little taste of a wine we bought there right now….maybe a sliver of Asiago…and an olive or two…cheers!

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DIY Distressed Frame Chalkboard

Monday, September 2, 2013 by
Spring Mantel | distressed frame chalkboard |
Happy long weekend everyone.  Hope you are all able to look back on a summer filled with some great memories.  Here is a crafty little project I undertook in the waning lazy afternoons of summer.  Framed chalkboards can be found all over the DIY world.  Used for everything from marking table numbers at weddings to elaborately written quotes for the home.  So if there is a little spot in your home that could use a touch of inspiration, this might do the trick.  And once you have a few supplies on hand, these are easily put together for another spot in your home, for party table decor, or for gifts.
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I was inspired by this little frame that was no longer being used.  I’m kind of big on reframing stuff so I always have a drawer full of frames that are out of circulation.  This one was small enough to experiment on and also had some pretty detail.  But I wasn’t in love with the finish…probably why it got put out of circulation.  Here it is already sanded a little bit and the dust wiped down with some tack cloth.
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So I experimented with a product called milk paint in powdered form.  I’d used it once upon a time in premixed form when we were setting up rooms for new babies.  We had bought unfinished Mennonite style furniture and this was the paint they sold there, by a company called Homestead House.  As you can imagine by the name it comes in beautiful heritage colours.  You can read up on their website about all its other amazing qualities…non-toxic, odourless, zero VOC…  Best of all you don’t need to use a primer.
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It comes like this, and I literally mixed it half a tablespoon powder to one tablespoon water, in a paper cup with a kitchen whisk.  Not what the instructions said at all.  So there you go.  You can hardly go wrong with this product.  Play around with it till you get the look you’re after.
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The paint easily dries within half an hour.  I used two coats of paint, then sanded it a tiny bit along the detail and around the edges and corners.  The finish is then very chalky and flat, and needs to be sealed.  This wax is amazing for that but unfortunately not easy to come by around here.  If you happen to have a Mr. Personally who is travelling to a random place like Alpharetta Georgia, you can commission him to do a bit of shopping and pick you up a jar of this, plus a jar of the antique wax while he’s at it.  On his way to the airport.  Before the shop closes.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
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For the chalkboard I actually just painted the cardboard backing that came with the frame.  What a cheater.  Don’t forget before using a new chalkboard surface to rub it completely with chalk dust.  I wanted to add some other small embellishment as well, that’s the whole point of making things yourself, right?  This little flower pick is from Creative Bag.  I just tucked it through the frame backing to the front.
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DIY Distressed Frame Chalkboard | milk paint, burlap flower, chalkboard |
As I write this Teenaged Daughter is practicing the most exquisite Chopin Arabesque on the piano.  Heavenly.  Just one of my ten thousand reasons.
Spring Mantel | distressed frame chalkboard |
Just the thing to personalize this little corner on the mantel.  And the finish is exactly what I was hoping for…a little bit more textured and worn in a vintage-y colour.  Are you inspired?  On to bigger and better milk paint projects, I think…

...personally, Andrea
linked to DIY show off and the farmhouse porch and a stroll thru life

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