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Getting Schooled by a 21 Year Old on Photography

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Monday afternoon I got “schooled” by a 21 year old on photography. Chance stopped by the office to visit. Chance was a student I knew in high school. He saw that I had one of my photos framed and on the shelf. It was a picture I am proud of, taken at the boat launch near our lake house. It was a foggy morning and someone had chained their boat to our auxiliary boat launch. I loved the tranquil scene.

Chance took one look at my picture, told me I did a good job, then proceeded to tell me what he would have done differently. He suggested I get a little lower when I photograph the shot. Now I wouldn’t take that from most people, i mean I liked it enough to frame it, but this kid knows his stuff. I am buying two of his photographs for my office. You know what a tightwad I am, so that should tell you how good they are.

I did not post my photo after his comments, but I will be taking some more soon.

We live in the same area, see the same things and yet he makes the ordinary into art.

It is not that he has the best camera. He took this shot with his phone.
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The other pictures are from locations near where I live.

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He can give me photography suggestions any time he wants to. Check out his work at Photos by Chance

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Goldfinches at Star Hill

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My daughter thinks I am a scary bird lady. She even tagged a nice lady’s picture from a bird sanctuary holding a falcon as me on Facebook. I do love watching the birds at our lake house, we call Star Hill. I keep Birds of Texas books on my end table and binoculars at the ready. My kids think that is funny, and probably a little creepy. Every year Lesser Goldfinches come through Star Hill during the winter. I love seeing them. They come in in droves, feed on sunflower seeds and thistle, and give me joy. I love these little yellow birdies. They fight with each other on the feeders and line up on the fence for their turn when the feeder is too full for them to fit any more. The whole yard is covered with the little birds when they fly in. The feeder is a sock like device that is filled with thistle seed. It was hard to get pictures of it full because every time I got the camera out and stood by the door our goofy dog started barking. The birds I got to photograph were just happy that they got a turn after everyone else flew off.
I am enjoying my new camera.

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Taking Family Photos to Send Out

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I am the absolute worst in the world at sending out Christmas cards. My daughter, The Southern Belle, and my mom make me ashamed every year that they can get this done and I cannot. I made the decision that this year I am sending out family cards in January. They go out this week. I need to let those that I love know that I am thinking of them, even if December is too nutty for me to even think of sitting down to write out cards. I have written a letter to send and while we were at the beach I forced convinced my family to go out on the jetty so that we could take pictures that I made a collage out of. I got the idea from this blog. I took one of my chalkboards and had each group write one word on the chalkboard to represent them. I love the results. My photography skills are improving a little.
Here is the one going out:
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This was created using Pic Stitch
I hope you enjoy the out takes too. It really took about ten shots per group to get the shot I wanted. Full disclosure: The Southern Belle deleted most of her out takes.


I used a variety of photography apps to create the collage I plan to send out. Here are some of the attempts along with the iPad app I used.
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this is a program called Collage
I loved this one, but could not get Miss Maeby in the shot.
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This one was from Frame Artist.
Remember that I am cheap so the apps are all the free or 99 cent variety. There were things I liked and did not like about each of them, but my guess is that most of my problems was due to operator error.
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Happy 2013 from my family. More

The Things I Collect

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I joke a lot about my hoard, but really I try to keep my stuff down to a minimum. I donate a ton of stuff to a twice yearly garage sale that is a fundraiser for an organization near and dear to my heart. I really do only collect what makes me happy and I get rid of what I do not love. At Star Hill I collect milk glass. It is cheap and easy to find, along with being very versatile. Here is my whole collection.
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I cleaned it all over the holiday and snapped some pictures before it all got put up. The milk glass is about to need a bigger shelf unit. I have one planned but it is not at the top of the list. I also collect old wooden bowls.

They are rustic and remind me of my great grandmother. I have her wooden bread bowl at Star Hill.
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She made sour dough bread in this bowl almost every day. I add old bowls as one “speaks” to me. I have collected 10 of them and keep them on top of the cabinets in my tiny kitchen.
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I also collect cream or white colored creamers.
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Come on, cream creamers… just typing that makes me smile. They are small enough to be in kept on top of my cabinets in front of the wooden bowls. It is harder to find my creamers than you would think. I don’t want a set, just the itty bitty pitcher and I want interesting shapes. Oh, and my spending limit is less than a dollar. No wonder I only have 8 9 of them. ( The social planner just bought me one tonight.) At the city house I collect McCoy pottery and shell angels and crystal globes. The stuff at the city house definitely is a bigger investment. Do you collect things or am I the only one out there?

Dump Cake

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Because we are only in the country on the weekends and I am lazy, I have found things that can stay at Star Hill so we can whip something up if guests show up. Who wants to gussy up and run into town just because someone is on their way for supper? Not this girl.
Cake mixes are cheap and easy to keep on hand. My one hint is to keep them in a sealed container to keep out the critters. I keep them in gallon sized ziploc bags. I found out years ago that a cake mix can be turned into other desserts if the need arises. A sort of fancy but super quick dessert is a dump cake. I keep the ingredients on hand at Star Hill because we never know when company is going to show up unexpectedly. We love company so of course I want them to have something yummy to remember their visit. The dessert is served hot, so no prior cooking, cooling and icing required if you need something cooked in a hurry that tastes like you worked hard.

Dump Cake

1 can cherry pie filling
1 small can crushed pineapple
1 yellow cake mix
1/2 to 3/4 stick of butter
1/4 cup pecans if you have them.
Dump the cake mix into a bowl then cut the cold butter into the cake mix. I have a pastry cutter but two knives works fine. Should look like granola crumbles not cookie dough when ready
Spray an 8X 12 glass casserole pan well with Pam
Dump in the cake mix
Spoon the cherry pie filling into the pan in small dollops then cut it into the cake mix, do the same with the pineapple
Bake at 350 degrees until browned and bubbly
Serve with ice cream or cool whip

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French Provincial Hardware Windfall

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Okay friends, I really do need your advice. At a resale shop, I found all of this hardware- dresser handles and pulls- for $7.00. I also have a lead on some 1950’s drawer pulls for free! I love all the French Provincial pieces, but I only have a few pairs, mostly singles. I may go back to see if I can sweet talk a little more out of the resale shop, but it was tough getting what I got. Two of the people in the shop said to make them an offer, but the owner said he had some of those pulls for 20 years and tried to cancel the sale. I I had to complain a little to get what I had already collected and up the price $2.00. I could tell with this owner that collecting things was more fun than selling.
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Here is a page from Etsy with an idea what the stuff runs for:
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Any ideas what to do with the pairs? I was thinking about making some trays and using them for handles. Here is one example from the reuse center: tray made with dresser hardware
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I think I will save the singles to see if I can catch the right person at the resale shop to let me go through the huge tub for pairs. I can be persuasive. I may bring cookies. If not… I could do something like this: Drawer into Stool

What should I do with what I have? Have any of you seen a great idea on Pinterest?
Let me hear from you.

Turning Ugly Frames Into Key Holders

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This week in my thrift store shopping I bought several things in a bundle for $4.00. The bundle included three milk glass pieces, a mid century modern relish dish, two yellow plates, a bowl, a creamer, and two really ugly ornate picture frames. I the frames were a faux terra cotta color, and because they are so overly ornate, they are too small for a photograph to be noticed in the frame. Look at the oval one. It almost has teeth around the edges do the inside.
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Here is a sampling of my $4.00 bounty. The milk glass was already on the shelf.
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Of course I wanted the frames. They were the first thing I picked up when I entered the shop. The guy must have felt sorry for me once I picked up the unfortunate frames because he clearly sold me the stuff I collected there for a song.
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I am not sure if I should be proud of my husband or worried that he has given up on me because he didn’t even shake his head or ask what I was going to do with them. Believe
It or not I did have an idea. I decided to turn them and another ornate frame from the hoard about the same size into key holders that will hang by the mud room bench in our entryway. I was looking for a small ornate frame to copy this idea: shadow box key holder
Possibly this will help us with out morning rush out the door.
To make the holders Hubby cut some hardboard that attached to the frames. The oval ones were trickier than the rectangle because we did not have the skill saw. It took multiple coats of black paint to cover the terra cottaish coating. I used scrapbook paper that looks like an old love letter on the hardboard. I attached the paper to the hardboard by soaking it in watered down school glue. Once it was dry I spayed the glued down paper with acrylic sealer before attaching the hooks.
Here they are without the screws in.
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The ornate frame I added to the two that I found at the thrift store.
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A simple, inexpensive and I think stylish solution to a nagging problem at our house. I only hope it works to speed up our mornings.
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We are still negotiating the location, but they will be up by the end of the week.

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