Monday, June 23, 2014


It's no secret that I love Karen Russell. I think she's the cat's meow. (Or the cat's pajama's or the cat's ass.) She's all that and a bag of chips! 
I'm in the middle of taking her Making the Shoot 3. It's fitting that the course runs at exactly this time,  it's the anniversary of when I met Karen and my 8 other amazing housemates at the Hometown Workshop. The course focuses on FOCUS!
Karen has a knack for pushing people outside of their comfort zones. I'm perfectly happy taking pictures of Linus. But when she said we needed to have cooperative subjects for our assignments, I knew I was in trouble. My kids are not so cooperative.
She also explained Back Button Focusing in terms I could understand and I've been shooting that way for weeks now. 
When Nancy, my hairdresser, called about my appointment she mentioned that her daughter needed some tips on using her new camera. Luckily, she has a Canon. I saw an opportunity for both of us to get what we needed. Win-win. We went to the park and shot all the photos I needed and we talked cameras, got bit by bugs, covered in cotton fluff from those nasty trees. Hopefully, I didn't overwhelm her. Seriously talking about cameras helped me too, it made me stop and think about my settings before using my trigger happy fingers!
*still can't figure out why the odd photo won't line up with the rest. 

For the second assignment, we had to have a subject that was candid and moving. I tried using Linus but that was unsuccessful.  So I asked Kerry if I could go with him on Saturday when he went mountain biking. This meant I had to get up with the sun on my day off.  I realized I was not making it easy for my self. I can't control the direction of the trails, or the trees, or the sun.
We went up to Crawford, in the end we figured I walked 5 km. I wanted to find an area that was more open, and the area that was burned out was the best. It's still sad to see all the dead trees, but the new growth is coming along just fine.
 I sat in bushes, on charred logs, in grass, to get these shots. I checked thoroughly for ticks after too.
In the end, I got some decent shots, and a few might say are pretty good. I have learned so much about what is adequate focus and when tack sharp focus matters. 
Now let's got back in time... a few weeks ago, my cousin got married. I had already committed to BBF for 90 days, what a perfect time to make or break it. 
After reviewing them, knowing now what is adequately sharp, tack sharp, and just plain old out of focus soft, I am proud to say the majority were adequately sharp and tack sharp!
And by the way, the wedding was beautiful.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Best Mother's Day Gift

I don't think I asked for anything for Mother's Day, mainly because of a few reasons….

1. I got to meet my idol, Karen Russell last year, and yes, she's still my idol, despite that saying that says you shouldn't meet your idols or heroes. I also met a group of amazing ladies that have changed my life. 
2. While my life isn't perfect, it's good, and it's mine. 
3. I don't need another piece of camera or scrapbooking related items, right now. 

So all I wanted was good weather, good food (which is short listed greatly due to my sensitivities), and good family, and maybe some good photos! I got them all!

We realized that while Shaun works in one of the best bakeries in town, he is sadly the worst cupcake froster in town. 
 He declared the cupcakes to be delicious!
Then in awe, asked if Emily made them, to which the answer was "Yes!" To which I yelled "with the help of that box!"
 He was so impressed he iced her cupcake special!
 Then I made them go out for a few photos before everyone got here.
Kerry did his best with the camera now that it's set up for BBF! For some reason the kids like looking off into the distance pose.
Clearly I do not.  It was around this time one kid said "we will never have the normal family photo", I  hope not. And the other kid said "you should scrapbook this!" Oh, believe me, I will! 
 Someone decided that Linus needed to be in the shots, he looks enormous here, and is not impressed.
I don' t even care that no one put on a fancy shirt, because really, this is who they are. Shaun in his one of 24 Tommy Hilfiger shirts, Kerry in a Disney shirt, and Emily in some anime shirt. 
The bbq had the winter off, I was mad at it. The heat has warped the grills, and to replace them will cost more than the bbq. It's 1.5 years old. 
These two are trouble. Linus is still sleeping the weekend off. Dad asked what the wood was for. I said campfires. I could be so good on that show "Hoarders"!
 Checking out Kerry's wieners. 
 We always give moms flowers for Mother's day, this year I made them pose with their gifts.
Mom always gets hanging baskets but this year she seemed to admire Kerry's mom's pots, maybe next year we will change it up! 
 This one cracks me up because usually it's one of us with our eyes closed!
I had to get a shot of Shaun leaving with this box. I have become some what of a box hoarder. The other day Kerry was cleaning up the dining room and asked if he could recycle the 3 boxes in there, before I could answer Emily said "No, you never know when you will need them!" and Kerry replied "You are your mother's child." We decided to set those 3 free, because there were 5 or more in the basement.  Shaun needed one big box for his pop cans, so we decided he was worthy and gave him one. 

He left before we could change our mind. 

And before you think we had this picture perfect Mother's Day, believe me, I took 190 photos, only 102 made the cut. And that's mainly because one or more persons had their eyes closed, too open, or had more than one chin. I can proudly say only 3 were totally out of focus and 2 of those weren't taken by me! 2 photos were of the ground, not sure what happened there. But 100% of them were hilarious, and that is perfect. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Pocketful of Popcorn

I'm taking a course on focusing from Karen and now that the weather is nicer, I wanted to get out and put my new skills to use. Back Button Focusing…BBF…has not been my BFF. I tired it, and I went back to the conventional way. But Karen explains the reasons and how to do it so well, I had to try it. She could sell me anything! So with a pocket full of popcorn, Linus and I headed out to the yard while Kerry was mowing. 

"We" practiced in different spots, with my 70-200 mm lens because I haven't used that one in ages. Now that we took out the walnut tree and curly willow, we have less shade in the back. It made it work to avoid the dappled light.
 I don't love this full bodied shot, that chicken wire is only there to keep that dog of the fence where he likes to look at the neighbours.  
 "We" even practiced in the full sun with pretty decent results! 
 We took a break to check the strawberry progress.
 Linus noticed the "good" dog behind us, he never barks, ever, where as Linus barks his head off if he thinks the good dog is outside or a bird flies over or someone breathes 3 houses away.
 In the same spot, just zoomed in.
 Next to the wood pile. We don't have a fire place or a stove but we have a wood pile.
So far, it's not a bad way to spend Mother's Day. Hope everyone else is doing something they enjoy!

(as I type this, the family is vacuuming and icing cupcakes I can't eat in preparation for Mother's Day dinner!)

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Linus's To-Do List

Please, mom, I need to go outside. There's something I must do!

 I think I misplaced something out here the other day.

 Oh, I think this is it. Tastes like it is!

 Yup, that's it! The dried up worm you took away from me the other day! I will fluff it up.

 I will massage it back to life!

And if that doesn't work, I will preform CPR, and by then it will be stuck to my fur and I will bring it in the house for you to step on with your bare feet at a later date.

I can cross that off my to-do list for today.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

March Randomness

It's coming up on WEDDING SEASON! The first shower was "tea party" themed. We were told to wear our big fancy hats. 

Someone got her acceptance to Okanagan College. This was not the original plan we had, but plans change and it all works out. For graduation, she got her very own laptop from Grandma and Grandpa and us. 
 Ashlee asked a group of us to help her with her wedding decorations. 
I've been on top of class samples and instead of leaving them to the last minute, I 've been doing them weeks in advance! It's a good feeling to be that organized.  We took a little road trip to do some shopping and site seeing. We will be doing more of this!
 Marg found the Ranger Heat Tool on-line and ordered me one too! I love it! 
It's also the beginning of Birthday season for us. We started off with a trip to DQ to celebrate Grandma W's birthday. I wanted a group selfie in front of the sign, this was as good as it got. 

After 10 years, I have quit selling Stampin' Up and have started with Close To My Heart. The main reason was that I really wanted the CTMH Artbooking Cricut cartridge and felt it was time for a change. It's the same but it's different. I'm looking forward to the change.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March by iPhone

Chicken and Waffles. Just the thought of it makes me gag. I don't like breaded items with bread like items. Like battered chicken in a bun. No thanks. But after the rest of the family said I should try it before I turn my nose up, I decided to make it from scratch. Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free? Can't be good. 
I was wrong. It would be much better with some kind of syrup, not apple sauce. But even -free, I could see it really good be good. I can't say I'd order it anywhere. I'd rather have bacon or sausages with my waffle. The chicken was battered with egg and rice flour and was really good! I seasoned the crap out of it. 
I got my nails done again, I'm not a nails done person. But I'm happy to be a nail model for Corina's class. I have a very hard time scrapbooking with these nails.
Year's ago, I used to make this black bean dip from the Moosewood cookbook. I've since gotten rid of the book because I only ever made one thing out of it. I made the dip because it's free of all the things we can't have right now. It was a huge hit! I like it in quesidillas, but since we can't have cheese, we'll hold off on that. It has the right amount of beany, cilantro, lime.
I discovered this site…a girl defloured…the flat bread is awesome! I've made it 3 times, 2 times in one day! I made her flour mix and used it up right away! We aren't starving on this restrictive diet. we had burgers in flatbread with bruschetta. It's no ketchup and mustard but it was good enough.
 I've been working on my old photos and getting the last 20+ years of them out of shoe boxes. 
 I've even found the time and energy to do some art. 
Marg and I had a messy day of embossing paste and stencils. She brought me a few stencils from her recent trip! I love that holly one, and I have all year to make Christmas stuff with it!

At Marg's insistance I tried on Wolkies, and the rest was history. I have been looking so long for black shoes.
 I got my nails filled and re-done. 
I found a recipe somewhere for lemon poppy seed muffins made with coconut flour and coconut oil. They have a nice texture and I really like them,  not like the 'fudgy brownies' I found too.
 Flat bread again! With shredded beef and pico de gallo! 
I'm all about trying to use stuff up lately. I decide to pull some papers from my stash for class and made this bright, cheerful layout.
 We re-visited the chicken fingers, this time with brown rice flour. I don't know the difference, and maybe even some potato starch. I deep fried some sweet potatoes too. That's 2 times in 4 weeks we have hauled out the deep fryer. I think it's good for another 3 months!
Music lessons are downtown, so Kerry and I have been taking that time and going for walks. I stopped to fix my sock and said that's a nice view and then he stepped into it. 
 Costco has become a great place to get gluten-free products, and they did not let us down with these 'crackers', I call them chips. They are like tortilla chips smothered in salt. They also have almond butter, I don't like peanut butter, and I had to check the label 2x to see if it had sugar in it because it is so naturally sweet. 
2 more sleep until I go back to the naturopath for re-testing. I've lost a few inches, and a few pounds, and I haven't died, nor have I injured anyone. I tried to have some ice cream cake last night but I heard a little Jiminy Cricket voice say "That's too much sugar for you!"  Thanks, Michelle! Normally, she's the little devil on my shoulder. (Just seeing if she's paying attention!)