Friday, December 30, 2011

My "little girl", had a little girl

I have 2 little sisters, and I'm sure for the full purpose of making me feel old, my sister Torrie had her second child yesterday. My other little sister, my mom and I all went to KC to see the little nugget come into the world. Sadly babies are on their own schedule (what is up with that?) so Amber and I had left to head home, only to get a call that the baby was coming... like.. now! So we went back.

I'm proud to say that I took Talyah* Colette's first photo ever.
(I think)

{8lb 5oz - Colette is Amber's middle name, so if you don't like Talyah's name ... suck it.}

*Not sure if this is how they are going to spell Talyah (pronounced Tal (rhymes with Pal)-Yuh), they hadn't decided yet when we left.  

Pretty sure Amber is now at bat. She's gonna need to break the 17 year no boy streak.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And then the dust settled at the Cease Fire Ranch


And the stockings were hung, by the .... dining room hutch... with care.


The decorations filled the house...


Well, not really "filled" so much.  As many decorations as I could fit in one trip in the jeep.  I totally got lazy this year.  I actually liked that I had less to mess with, but missed some of my decorations that didn't make the cut.  Next year, we should have a garage HERE, so it will be much easier to store things.


Not a creature was stirring... cuz he got tucked in, like every good cat.

Just in time for a good morning breakfast (no pics) and then a feverish gift opening.


The traditional "Mom got me clothes" parts were ok, because well, they needed clothes.

Jingles got what he wanted.

and Gene got what he wanted.  Pajama Jeans.

No.  Really.

Don't forget the traditional "making of the pipe bomb" part of christmas!!!

Gene was spoiled this year - a mattress topper, an awesome shaving set, some clothes, accessories for the jeep, nice gifts from the boys.  I got spoiled too - a new kindle fire (and a cover for it), a shark mop (it's ok, I wanted it), a pretty mother of pearl bracelet, candles and an address book.  Tanner got a boatload of clothes and a cool do-hicky that lets him watch all kinds of internet goodies on his television and a stereo for his car, which was a gift from Seth. I think Seth beat us all this year.... go Seth! I don't think he'd admit it but I think he likes his brother more than he puts on. ha..  Seth made out well with a fishing rod, 4 cases of pop (thanks Tanner) and an amp for his electric guitar.  (apologies to his neighbors).

This was the first year in the history of all years that I didn't keep a list of what I bought or what I'd spent.  I just sort of threw money at this "problem" (I was so busy this year) and amazon is a BAD THING. lol.  Needless to say, everything was wrapped in amazon boxes this year.

We not only had breakfast, I made a big fat ham for lunch and we laid around and watched movies for half the day.  It was a good day.

{Don't get your panties in a bunch, Tanner was really just working on his new stereo}

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Joyous New Year! You are all a blessing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

And here's what you don't win....

We recently entered a big contest... YAY!

We didn't win... BOO!

However, we felt it worthy still of sharing our entry because we're proud of it! Check it out.

5:08 p.m.


The best part of the day.. those few minutes between day and night.

From this day until it's sweltering hot, our days will grow longer.  Spring can not come soon enough.

Monday, December 19, 2011

12 days of Better Christmas Photography - revisited

{Christmas circa 2010}

Today my mother and father in law came to visit and have a bit of a "Christmas".  It was just them, Gene, Tanner and I, so it wasn't a big to-do.

Last night, at 1 a.m., I finished the last touches on the Christmas tree.   Yep, I'm just not all that much ready for Christmas.  Frankly I don't have one gift wrapped, no lights on my house and I settled for 1/2 of the decorations this year (what fit in the Jeep, made it).

I think this is the part where I'm supposed to say "Bah Humbug".
The truth is, I don't want to be that way.  This year has been exceptionally trying to say the least, so I've been going out of my way to find things to put me in the holiday spirit.  Giving a little more, sending a secret gift, sending piles of cards, etc.

Last year, I wrote the 12 days of better Christmas photography and I thought I should share it again with you this year.  No time to rewrite it all, but worth a second read.  Hopefully it will make your Christmas photos a little more enjoyable.  I promise to take my camera out a couple times this Christmas!

Day 1 - Get closer
Day 2 - Photographing Christmas lights
Day 3 - 25 things to shoot at Christmas time
Day 4 - Be Prepared
Day 5 - Better Photos indoors
Day 6 - Shooting snow
Day 7 - Shaped Bokeh
Day 8 - Get a real camera
Day 9 - Custom white balance
Day 10 - Group shots
Day 11 - Before and After
Day 12 - Put down the camera

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Winter in diptychs

Winter is here.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Trash to Treasure - Bling Guitar!

It's been a while since I've had time for a trash to treasure!!  I have one coming up in the next couple months that might get me banned from the family.  (There's a teaser if I ever heard one).  Maybe this will save me...

Every year for Christmas, my sister Amber goes out of her way to always make me a nice gift. My nice homemade gift making skills were super lacking this year so I was wracking my brain trying to come up with something cool.

I had bought Amber a guitar at a garage sale over the summer. It was a beat up acoustic guitar that would only be good for display (her shop has a rock and roll theme). Being the horrible sister I am, I kept forgetting to give Amber the guitar and I had it for months and months.

Worked out great for me in the end, because I got to thinking, maybe I could paint something cool on the guitar or bling it out somehow.


That was it! Immediately I went out on Amazon and bought a POUND of rhinestones. Do you know how many rhinestones are in a pound of rhinestones?

All of them.

I dragged the package into the house, ran to the store and got a bottle of
Aleene's tacky glue (hands down the best craft glue ever made) and started gluing.

It's that easy.  I just drew on my design (which were some flames), filled in an area with glue and then stuck on the appropriate colored rhinestones. 

{I forgot to take a before pic, so here's an almost before pic}

{Picture by Amber because I'm a moron and also forgot to take an after pic}
{don't be judging}
{Also don't be hatin'}

It's not nearly as hard or as time consuming as you might think. I did big portions of it when I got a phone call or needed a quick break.  Sometimes working on a couple square inches at a time.  I would guesstimate it took me approximately 3 hours to cover the whole front and the end.
After it was all done, I realized there were some gaps so I went back and filled in some of the smaller gaps with some tiny white rhinestones.  After everything was dry, I brushed on glue on the stem (is the the right name???) and covered it with Martha Stewart Agate Green Glitter because that's what I had on hand. It really is a simple project and it turned out really cool and sPaRkLy!

FYI: I doubt you'd be able to play the guitar any more, I'm sure this totally ruins it, so don't try it on your good stuff.

Difficulty - Beginner

$2.00 - guitar
$15.00 - rhinestones
$6.00 - little white rhinestones (not required)
$1.00 - glitter (costs more for the whole bottle but that stuff goes a LONG WAY!
$2.97 - Aleene's glue

$26.97 for the whole project and I reserved my place as best sister EVAH!

My sister has the BEST SISTER!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's in my (camera) Bag??


I get asked a lot what equipment I use, what are my favorite lenses, where'd I get that bag, blah blah.  So I thought it would be fun to share with all of you what I use to shoot weddings, portraits and just everyday stuff for myself!
Canon 5D Classic -This is my main body that is a nice little workhorse. I've been really happy with this camera and will probably use it until it can't go anymore. Many professiona photographers use this camera and never upgrade from this point.

Canon 50d -This is my second camera - which is what Gene shoots with exclusively. I really like some of the features of the 50D and if I were going to just buy a camera for personal use, I would probably go with the 50D for the price. It is a crop sensor so that has some good points and some bad points.  For pro work, I prefer the 5D.

Canon 135mm F2 - This is by far, my favorite long lens. I use it in dark churches to grab every bit of light possible - from the back of the church. I hate being part of the ceremony (in fact, I won't be no matter what) so I try to stay back with this lens.

Canon 50mm F1.4 - This is my newest lens in a medium range. I Looooove this lens. I'm sure I'd love the 50mm f1.2 more, but it's a bit of a price jump between those 2 lenses. However, the 1.2 is an L lens so I'm sure it's totally worth it! The F1.4 is on my camera pretty much all the time as my go-to lens.

Canon 50mm F1.8 I also have the 1.8 version which is usually the first prime lens most enthusiasts will purchase. Quite a little kick in a $100 lens. I think that's the "suck you in" lens. LOL Anyway, the down side to this lens is that I used it one day, and the next day it fell apart in my hands. That's not uncommon. However, I had it 4 years before it happened so it's not the end of the world for $25/year. I certainly got my money's worth. I ended up with this AGAIN after a "discussion" about lenses with Gene.  (long story).  So I have 2 at the 50mm range which is fine because Gene uses this lens a lot now.  In fact, at some point in my life, I'll have 2 of everthing.  GET OUT.

Canon 35mm F2 - In the slightly wider range, I really like the 35mm F2.  It was my go-to lens on the crop sensor (felt more like the 50mm really) but when I went to full frame I realized I really liked the medium range better.  Gene uses the 35mm now more than I do although it's great in tight spaces while the bride is getting ready.

Canon 70-200mm F4 - This is my longest range lens and my first "big" lens purchase.  I don't use it a lot now that I have the 135mm (mainly because of that F4).  I really should have held out and bought the F2.8 L but I was way too scared to drop so much cash so early on. Now I'm contemplating selling this piece, but every once in a while I pull it out for a nice long shot and realize that I'd probably miss it.

Canon 17-40mm F4 L - This is my widest ranged lens. I'm sort of ehhhh about it. Sometimes it's awesome, especially for those big wide sky shots I like to share. I used to really be into wide shots, but over time I've moved away from that. I almost exclusively use the 17-20 range. 17mm on a full format almost has a fisheye feel to it. Lots of distortion around the edges, but that's really kind of cool too. Just depends on the look you're going for. Sometimes I feel like this lens is soft, which IMO is annoying considering it's F4 L. I will probably keep it for now, but I will someday down the road sell it and go for the 24mm f1.4 prime.

Canon 18-55mm kit lens - Yep, I actually have my kit lens in my bag. Just for clarification, it's in my big rolly bag, not my bag on my shoulder. I still used it for semi-decent shots of rings, but since buying my extension tubes I really don't have much need for it anymore. I just keep it in my bag "just in case" Really, for a beginner walk around lens, its really not a bad little lens. I feel like I got much better close up shots with it than anything distant. My landscape shots were always soft, but I could get a nice sharp macro(ish) with it. Regardless, you can't use this on a full frame so don't try!

Canon Speedlite 430EXII - My flash is the speedlight 430EXII. I really need to pick up some more of these but will probably hold off until spring. These are pretty awesome flashes, although there is an upgraded version (580EXII). I've been fairly happy with the 430 so I will probably stick with that for now.

Shoot Sac Camera bag - This is my camera bag that I take with me on shoots. I really love this bag. It's made of neoprene and I don't worry about my stuff falling out. It's also not too big and bulky, really tucks close to my side. I have a strap cover on it, and the only thing I don't like is the cover slides, so I need to pin it on. I have a pretty burgandy cover for it, but I almost exclusively use the black cover. Sometimes when I'm out someplace doing sightseeing, I will ditch my purse and put my phone, cards, checkbook (yes I carry one of those still!) in one of the pockets.

I have a lot of other little misc pieces here and there, and someday I'll share those with you too.  I also need to work on my "wish list" lol, you know in case my husband wins the powerball sometime soon.

So if I show up with 2 Mark II's and a huge bag with $20K in lenses, suspect something big happened.
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