Shoot Happy: Bokeh

The month of October brings so many happy things, pumpkin lattes at Starbucks, fall sunsets ( there’s something about the warmer lighting that’s so magical), and if you live in New Mexico that first whiff of roasted green chili is a sure sign that fall has arrived. But over the past couple of years, October also means participating in a 31 days series hosted by the Nester, click on over to her site to see what all the other 1200 bloggers  also joining in on the joy (or misery) of blogging for 31 days straight about one topic are up to. (Whew, that was a run-on sentence!)

This year, I’ll be talking about shooting happy with the 50mm. Although, I’m starting to question my topic, it’s only the 3rd day into the series and I’m already struggling with blog topics, in fact I’m getting a little bored with it. I may have to resort to posting random shots without any caption, or maybe tweaking the topic a little. Wonder if that’s against the rules of this little bloggy project. I could always change my mind half way through and do 15.5 days of indecisiveness.

But for today, I’ll stick to my chosen topic, and blabber on about how nifty the fifty has proven to be. Today we’ll be talking about bokeh, pronounced BOH-KAY (like the bunch of flowers that hubby brings home when he’s trying to suck up after purchasing more 80’s video games) , meaning the part of a photo that has been purposely blurred to bring focus to a certain area of the shot. According to wiki: Bokeh is the blur,or the aesthetic quality of the blur,in out-of-focus areas of an image.

Here are a couple examples of bokeh I shot while enjoying that warm fall light shining into my living room.

earinfocus

Notice, how my models ear is in focus while the area around the ear is slightly blurred. And in the photo below, the other model has a very focused nose (better for sniffing out rawhides), but the background is blurred.

noseinfocus

I should also add, that the use of bokeh is perfect at blurring out a messy background (i.e. the mess that is my living room).

sortamessyroom

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Shoot Happy: The Nifty Fifty

Well, it’s that time of year again, where I scramble, hem and haw my way through a decision of whether or not to participate in the Nester’s 31 Days of Change blog challenge. In past years, I only got half way through the 31 days before something else took my attention. Well, this year to keep with tradition, because it takes two years to make a tradition dontchaknow, I’ll attempt to partake in the joy (or misery) of blogging for 31 days straight about one particular topic. Will I complete the 31 days this year? Will it really make a change in my life and possibly someone else’s? I can’t answer that just yet, but let’s hope.

In the past two years I’ve participated, I blogged about Thrifting and was entirely too hopeful last year and documented a series on Getting it Done, yes, I see the irony in that one. But this year, will be the year I FINALLY blog for 31 days straight, no breaks, no excuses, and no whining. Actually, I can’t guarantee the no whining, it’s really what I do best.

Now, you probably want to know what I’ll be jabbering on about for the next 31 days. I’ve given it some thought, what would be fun, interesting, and relevant to myself and my readers?  What won’t bore me to no end, and what won’t stress me out? Remember this is supposed to  be fun, darn it!  So, I decided to explore shooting.

No, not that kind of shooting! I’m not a member of the NRA, and don’t have one of those fancy purses that can cleverly conceal a weapon, unless we’re talking about my trusty Canon. I bring that puppy with me pretty much everywhere. Which is why I decided to focus this month of change on seeing things differently through the lens. Specifcally, the 50mm lens, or as I like to call it the Nifty Fifty. Because really, it is pretty nifty.  But I’ll get into all the nifty-ness of the fifty in a later post.

Let’s get into the point of this little series shall we? Over the month of October, I plan to explore all the great shots that can be accomplished by using the 50mm lens. Granted, there will be other photo ops during this month that will require me to use other lenses (i.e. vacation!), but for the purpose of this series I plan to devote all my posts to photos taken with my trusty nifty fifty. I’ve found that over the past few months I’ve become a little lazy when it comes to shooting, relying heavily on auto focus and not worrying too much about composition and what not. Hopefully, by the end of this month I’ll have honed in my skills, and become more artistic in the way I shoot and even in the way that I view the world around me. So, look forward to a photo or a series of photos everyday, sometimes it might just be dog picture, or I might share a tip or trick I’ve discovered along the way.

After having said all that, I should warn anyone who has been brave enough to visit my blog sweet blog, I am not a professional photographer. The tips and photos I have chosen to share are simply things I have found to be helpful or beautiful. They may not be correct in the technical sense, but they are appealing to me.

Now, won’t you join me as I try to see things differently through the lens?

31DaysNiftyFiftyButton

Pretty in Pink

Since apparently I have taken to posting once a week, and that once a week happens to fall on what I call Friday Eve which also happens to be Thrifting Thursday around these parts, I’ve decided to give Thrifting Thursday a break for a little while. It’s not going away forever, heck, you might even see it next week, but I want this blog to be more than just about thrifted goodness. Yeah, I could post more than once a week, and I always plan to, but then life and work come into the mix. Honestly, after staring at a computer all day at my 9-5 ,the last thing I want to do is look at another screen once I get home. Okay, I do look at the TV and that’s considered a screen, but you catch my drift.

So this week, let’s take a look at what’s going on in the backyard. Particularly, the magic that’s happening with my apricot tree.

pinkblossom1

Here she is mid-March, in all her pink blossom goodness.

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A little over watering has caused some shoots at the very top, I’m thinking they should probably be trimmed at some point. But for now they make for a dramatic shot reaching towards the sky.

apricotbuds

Here she is in early April, just about ready to show her summer green.

Iapricotleaves

I haven’t gotten out there to take a picture of her this month, but she’s in her full summer greens now.

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Which means the dogs can wrestle under the tree without worry of knocking off any pretty in pink blossoms.

31 Days: Plans

I suck at this 31 Days of Getting it Done series, I haven’t done 31 things and I haven’t posted about the 31 nonexistent things within the bounds of 31 days. Yes, I wrote out a plan, and yes, I had planned on getting some projects done before the 31 days of October came around. I had also planned on getting my house all neat and organized like Jules did over at Pancakes and French Fries. By the way, she’s totally my hero and  does a great job of “getting it done”. She has based her 31 day series (and last years series) on the famous William Morris quote, but you’ll have to skip on over to her blog to find out more.

Anywho, I’m stuck in a disappointing and annoying loop of the same old I’m-tired-from-work bug that I always tend to catch, I also have the it’s-fall-and-I-need-to-soak-up-as-much-warm-sunshine-as-possible-before-the-time-change-turns-me-into-a-vampire-itis, it’s a real disease I swear, look it up! I say all of this because, really, I’m not getting “it” done. I’m getting important things done, like workie things, and chores, and walking the dogs, and Netflixed Doctor Who episodes watched. But the “it” of Getting it Done, yeah, that’s kind of been put aside and smooshed into the corner of the closet along with that half finished Pinterest project and the “skinny” jeans I’ve been saving back for when I am “skinny” again.

But never fear, I have a plan!! (there’s always a plan) The plan is to get back on schedule, to get “it” done before the end of October, to finally and victoriously finish a 31 day series in 31 days!!! Wouldn’t that be nice? If it does happen I shall celebrate with cake and a marathon of Netflixed Doctor Who.

In the mean time, while I ponder if and when I should be caught up on my getting it done posts, I’ll be enjoying a nice flick in the backyard.

Obviously, I need to use my tripod more liberally.

By the way, we watched Jurassic Park, I don’t recommend watching such a suspenseful movie within earshot of neighbors that can hear your shrieks of terror every time a dino rips someones head off. I’ll stick to sweet non-scream inducing Disney movies thankyouverymuch.

31 Days Day 10 :Sorting the Etc.

It would seem that life has been getting in the way of blogging lately, which would explain my absence on days 8 and 9 of this 31 Days of Getting it Done challenge. I’ve been getting things done, they just aren’t exciting things, or bloggy things, think more work things, things that allow me to continue to receive a paycheck. Which honestly, is a little more important than making sure I’ve got a post up everyday. Have I ranted mentioned the time it takes to get these guys (meaning a blog post) up and running? I mean we’re talking a good 2 or 3 hours including photo editing and thinking up a coherent string of words to put a post together. So, do you forgive me for ignoring the blog for a few days?? I really hope so, because I’m ready to jump back into the swing of things, at least until life gets in the way of my fun.

When I left you last, I showed you some sweet non-entry way ideas from Pinterest. Quite inspiring actually, I had planned on mounting a few baskets to the wall like in this photo:

Thanks to my teeny house, the vintage locker baskets I had planned to use wouldn’t fit anywhere in my pseudo entry way. I tried them on either side of the door, but in each space they just seemed to stick out too much. And with my abundant gracefullness, (HAR-HAR) I feared many bumps and scrapes on my hurried exit out the door on work day mornings. So, it was a no-go, instead I realized the only way I would be able to even think about making changes to any area in my home would be to actually clean it. What a concept right? A clean house really is a happier house. I started my little cleaning frenzy in the areas by the front door. Here’s what I started out with:

It’s a cluttered mess right? A bit shameful, but I am only sharing it because it doesn’t look like this anymore, I’ve got my pride people. Also, notice the “etc.” sign? Yeah, that pretty much sums up my home. Actually, I have two “etc” signs…

A top my ugly wall heater resides my secondary “etc.”. Speaks volumes doesn’t it?

Anywho, after some shuffling, throwing, dusting, and a little bit of mild cursing, I had some nice piles.

A pile for magazines, catalogs, movies and hard back books. I really have no idea how any of those things got thrown underneath this little table, but there they were. And also, a flying pig, maybe he made an appearance because I was finally going through our “etc.”

I didn’t realize what a magazine hoarder I had become, all of these are Better Homes and Gardens. Wonder what that says about me.

After all the dusting, shuffling, and mild cursing, I ended up with a much cleaner and less cluttered space to put my keys and sun glasses.

I replaced the random magazines, movies, and books with a basket that now houses the yarn for my current TV watching crochet project.

Ahh…much better.

 

And I got it all done while my faithful companion kept a close eye on me a top her perch.

The joys of sorting through the etc, not exactly my idea of a good time, but the outcome is oh so rewarding.

31 Days Day 6: Procrastination

Happy Saturday all! I trust you are all having a smashing good time this weekend. As you are reading this I am working on a few projects to share with you this coming week. Maybe you won’t be subjected to my fake autumn-ness outside again, there’s nothing that says fall is in the air like fake flowers.

So, on this 6th day of 31 Days of Getting it Done, I thought it might be fun to  look at some pretty pictures from Pinterest.  You know, because that’ll really help in hacking away at that long to do list! Maybe I should have named this series 31 Days of Procrastination.

Anywho, on with the eye candy. I’ve been thinking about organized entry ways lately, particularly entry ways that really aren’t entryways, but more of a door and then suddenly the living room. At least, that’s how it is at my house, when you walk in through the front door you step directly into my living room. Which means that all those things you carry into the house with you, get plopped down right by the door. Keys, purses, shoes, wallets, anything and everything that is part of “leaving the house” gets thrown on the floor or the end table near the door. So, it’s become apparent I need to do something to wrangle all that clutter. Thanks to Pinterest, I have a few ideas to work from. Hopefully, you’ll get to see the outcome, you know I’m not the greatest finisher of these types of thing

Both of these came from Martha Stewart, if you are curious about the original context, click on the image to be taken to the original link. I liked the use of both baskets and hooks, especially the baskets that are mounted to the wall. I’ve got a couple of vintage locker baskets that would be perfect for something like this.

Via Modern Parents Messy Kids

The bars with huge “S” hooks looks like it might be an easy fix to a messy problem. I especially like the cork board on the wall, and that mail sorter thing-a-ma-gig.

Via I Heart Organizing

Speaking mail sorting things, I liked what was done in this little entryway, in particular those cute little rainboots. If only it rained enough here to constitute purchasing my own little rain boots, but alas, in the desert there is no need for such boots. Wonder if anyone makes cute sand boots??

And with that deep thought, I leave you to enjoy your Saturday!

31 Days Day 5: Lolita and Car Repairs

So far this week, I’ve introduced you to my plans for tackling 31 projects within the month of October, I got to complain about waterlines running annoyingly through the middle of a flower bed my clearance plants were to be planted, and you got to see how I made my living room and front porch look autumn like and such. Not exactly meaty topics, I realize it may be a bit of let down, it’s a let down for me too. I didn’t realize how much time it would take to have a project done everyday, and share that project with you, my awesome and ever so patient readers, with an awesome, intelligently written, picture laden post. ( Could that sentence have more commas in it?) Apparently, it will be one or the other around these parts, so it’s your choice, a project done with one picture and very few words, or a non-project with lots of words.

Anywho, I mention all this to say, I don’t have a project done to share with you. So, it’ll be a wordy post today. Aren’t you lucky?

But I did have to get the fuel pump replaced on my car. And I have the bill to prove it. That should count as a project.

I’m $1,000 lighter now, but my car has a working fuel gauge and the check engine light isn’t on all the time. Which means, I was able to pass my emissions test, which means, my car is legally registered now. I was a day late in renewing my registration, which bugged me to no end. Everytime a police car got near me I’d get a little sweaty. Oh, and if you are lucky enough to live in a county that doesn’t require an emissions test, here’s a little background…

An emmissions test consists of five parts:

  • On-Board Diagnostic 2 – Tests vehicle emission control equipment functions
  • Tailpipe exhaust analysis – Measures carbon monoxide and hydrocardon emissions
  • Pollution control equipment – Verifies equipment installation and connections
  • Visible emissions – Checks for tailpipe smoke
  • Gas cap pressure – Ensures cap holds tight seal

All this to say that if your car’s check engine light is on, you won’t pass the emissions test, which means you won’t be able to get your car registered, which means you’ll be driving an illegal car, which means they will catch you, and haul you off to jail, which means your cell mate, Lolita will cut you. Which means, I paid $1000 to get the fuel pump fixed, which means I finally passed the emissions test and got my registration, which means my car is now legal, which means I won’t get caught, and hauled to jail where my cellmate, Lolita would have cut me.

Which means, it’s Friday, and I’m out of words.

Happy Friday, I’ll be back tomorrow with another life changing post! And fewer “which means”.

31 Days of Getting it Done: Day 1

Do you have things you’ve been putting off for no apparent reason other than the fact you just don’t want to do it? Yeah, me too, I have a house filled with “don’t wannas”. I don’t bring this up  to complain, but to introduce this years 31 Day series, yes, I think I’m a little nuts for doing this again, but it might be fun!

Like last year I am playing along with The Nester’s 31 Days of… , you see every October Nester and a group of her friends get together and blog for 31 days straight including weekends (!). The blog topic should focus on one area, but be broad enough to not bore you to death by the end of the 31 days. Last year Miss. Nester opened this little project up to her readers. So, being the natural follower that I am, I attempted to participate. But also being the non finisher that I am I only got 16 of the 31 posts up. Maybe it was the topic I chose, 31 Days of Treasures , vintage and of the heart. It was a topic I thought I would enjoy, and did until I didn’t. It got kind of old after awhile and I started to worry that I was outing myself as a hoarder.

So, this year the month of October will bring us:

Like most everyone else, I’ve got a mile long to-do list, so over the next 31 Days, I’ll be documenting the peaks and valleys of finally tackling all those projects I’ve been putting off. The focus will mainly be on home projects, but I’ll shake things up with a craft or two. And I’ll try to do projects that won’t require materials or conquer those projects that I’ve already got the materials on hand to complete. Hopefully, you’ll be seeing some pretty big projects finally come to fruition, or you may learn how I organize my toilet paper. Either way, I hope you join me on this bumpy and random ride through 31 Days of Getting it Done.

If you’d like to read what I’ve had to say on these marvelous 31 days please follow the below links:

Day 2: Clearance Plants

Day 3: Autumn in the Living Room

Day 4: Autumn Outside

Day 5: Lolita and Car Repairs

Day 6: Procrastination

Day 7: Cleaning Schedule

Day 10: Sorting the Etc.

Day 12: A Clean House

Day 17: Enjoyment

Day 19: Owls and Monkey Trays

Day 20: The Business of Busy-ness

Day 23: Plans

Day 24: Goose Heads and Dog Beds

Day 25: Clearance Plants Part 2

Day 29: Shoe Hoard

Day 30: Early Christmas

Stages of Rawhide Enjoyment

So, an unannounced two week blogging hiatus is not cool, I know and I’m sorry. I’ll do my best to keep you all up to date on useless news and the happenings of the dogs (which I’m sure you all sorely missed) from here on out. It occurred to me the other day that when I started this blog over two years ago, I didn’t start this blog to jabber on about useless (yet highly entertaining) pet stories or to share my latest junkin’ find (of which I recently have much to share) I started this blog to talk about the updates and improvements made to my little house. Recently, there haven’t been many of those updates, mainly because I’ve been too busy sitting on my bum watching the Olympics (it counts as exercise if I’m watching someone else push their body to the limit right?). But while pondering the reason why I started this blog, I came to appreciate what she has turned into. It’s a blog that I enjoy writing, yeah the jokes may only make sense to me and at times my mom might be the only one who reads my jabbering, but this blog is my happy place and if I want to share pictures of my dogs enjoying their most happy things in their happy place (that sounded dirty sorry) then that’s what I’ll blog about. So speaking of dogs, here is a series of my brats enjoying one of their most happy things in world, a rawhide. I know, it’s not exciting, but darn it, it’s my blog and if I want to share copious amounts of photos of my dogs eating a rawhide then that’s what I’m gonna do. Sit back and enjoy…

THE STAGES OF RAWHIDE ENJOYMENT

First Stage, choose the rawhide that is juuuussst right.

Second stage, find the perfect place for optimal rawhide enjoyment.

Ignore the unfinished floors, I do.

Stage three, make funny faces while chewing rawhide.

Stage four, all done, more please?

Yeah, more?

What have you been finding enjoyment out of lately? Silly pictures of a beloved pet? Finding treasures at your local thrift store?

A rawhide perhaps?

Holy Yellow Cow!

Apparently, I’m becoming one of those once a week bloggers. It was never my intent, I’ve always wanted to be a once a day blogger, gladly gabbing on about the newest happenings at my nest, or sharing that cute picture that I just shot of my puppies or sweet Hubba Bubba.  But alas, I’m lucky if I can scramble on here and quickly type up a post with some pictures thrown in. Actually, that’s not quite true, my posts take thought and time, I edit every single photo you see on this blog and try to be careful with those things called words. Maybe that’s why I’ve turned into a once a week blogger, it’s the time that it takes to put these posts together. Maybe I could become an everyday blogger if I were to include fewer word circles and start eating more potassium to prevent word diarrhea. (Yeah I went there)

Anywho, I’m not really sure how to transition from word diarrhea to how I prettied up my living room, so I won’t. Let’s jump right into the visuals shall we?

Ignore the ugly leashes that are so glaringly obvious in photos, but apparently are completely ignored while living in this space.

So, remember in my last post I finally got to reveal something finished on the ole blog, my oh so beautiful new floors? Well, I didn’t get to talk about how I prettied it up. With the living room having to be completely dismantled to install the flooring, it gave me a chance to finally work with a blank slate. This was a foreign concept to this pack rat, an empty room? With open, flat surfaces? Where does the clutter go?!  Well, the clutter hasn’t gone anywhere it’s just being stored in boxes in the sun room until I can figure out what I want to get rid of and what I want to keep. I am hoping to shake my pack ratty-ness and give away or sell most of the items that don’t have sentimental value to me. There’s just too many things to spray paint in this world for me to be wasting time dusting yet another thrift store knick-knack.

After putting all the furniture back in the room, and enjoying a completely clutter free space for a few days, I was ready to play around with some new accessories. I wanted color, lots of color, it’s summer after all. So, I started out with my new favorite yellow cow.

Yes, I know she’s a creamer, but the Bubba and I aren’t coffee drinkers, and I couldn’t bear the thought of putting Rillo away in a cabinet.(That’s what I’ve named her, short of Amarillo, which means yellow in Spanish. From what I’ve been told.) The flowers I clipped from my now dry and crunchy front flower bed.

Working with Rillo as my inspiration, I pulled items from around the house that would coordinate with her yellow glory. I found that my small collection of globes and a vintage children’s book brought the perfect mix of bright and fun to the room. Perfect for a summer setting on the ole coffee table.

Apparently, I easily fall victim to trends, notice the other globe on the end table in the foreground? Oh, and I can’t forget these guys:

Yeah, I totally went with the  owl craze too, but I never follow a crazy trend  I’m not completely in love with. Those owls and my globes are some of my favorite things in the room. Here are a few others.

C.S. Lewis is awesome, that’s all I’m sayin’.

Monograms are almost as awesome as C.S. Lewis. But the only monograms I  seem to find more readily are A’s. Oh, well, I’ll just be a self centered little A and only have my monogram selfishly displayed.

What changes have you made to make your home more summery?