Monday, March 2, 2015

Setting an Intention for March: Art Journaling

This year, as part of my "one little word" (selfhood), I am exploring the various areas of my art work to see what I wish to do more of, less of, or abandon all together. In January, I focused on sketching. In February, I focused on scrapbooking. This month, I am setting an intention to focus on art journaling to see where that fits in my creative life.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Playing with Distance: Still Life 52 #7

Tres Flores
This week's lesson in Be Still 52 focuses upon placing objects at various differences and adjusting the focus. I found the lesson fairly difficult to master, but I eventually created Tres Flores, above. I like the soft colors and curves/rounded shapes throughout the photograph. I shot this downstairs in my studio in the afternoon. I get a lot of direct sunlight from the southwest facing window in the afternoon, but a cloud passed over right before I took this shot. 
Beneath my heart
After the sun came back out, I had to switch the direction I was shooting  because the light was too bright. Although there's not that much distance between the three objects in the photograph, I played a lot with where to place the focus. Eventually, I really like the way the eye is drawn into the words and the heart.
Both of these were shot with my 50 mm lens. I may try this lesson again with my 80mm lens tomorrow.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt: A Slow February

Driving around the other day, I saw this new building under construction and thought about the Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt. I've been playing along, but realized that I have a few left to do and better get to them! 
I had already taken but never blogged #10 (a letter shape in nature or in an object). I found a very nice "F" in the trees on my walk to work:
 
 I also found a really cool "5", which you can see in the bottom third of the photo below, tucked into the V of the tree. Dropbox (where I'm pulling this photo from) seems to only save the original photo and not the cropped version where you can find it more easily.
 
Consider it your morning puzzle to see if you can locate the "5". Ha!
Here's the complete list and where I am (I still need the ones in bold):
 1. Reflection in water - done
2. Someone wearing a funny hat - done
3. Ornate door knocker
4. Breakfast - done
5. Something that is over 100 years old - done
6. Winter weather
7. Someone dressed for the season
8. A fish - done
9. Festive lights- done 
10. A letter shape in nature or in an object - done
11. Polka dots - done
12. Silhouette - done
13. Stained glass window - done
14. Partly built new building - done
15. Bunting

16. A collection (of anything) - done
17. Texture - done
18. Shadow - done 
19. Street musicians
20. Nativity scene - compulsory and can't be substituted - done
Alternative A - new life - done
Alternative B -  a decorated tree - done
I have five left. Even if I can claim credit for both alternates, I still need at least three more. Are you playing along? How far along are you? Will try to link up with the month-end linkie, which should be here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Scrapbooking Pairs: One Sketch, Two Ways.

Some of my favorite photos from 2011 are the ones I took on a trip out to the hidden daffodil fields on Montara Mountain. The light was so gorgeous, and the day was full of joyful friendship. I looked through my bin of premade layouts and found the layout up top. The photos worked well with the layout, but I had enough photos for two layouts. So, I found some other paper that worked well with the photos and decided to replicate the sketch using them.
I'm really pleased with how both layouts turned out, and I thought they made an interesting photo pair for Helena's weekly pairs photo meme. You can see other pairs by clicking on her blog here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

More Thoughts on Scrapbooking and Product Reviews

Feathering My Nest
It's three-fourths of the way through February, a month in which I have been focusing on scrapbooking. So far, I have organized my already-printed photographs and layouts; completed Henry's birthday album; completed Clara's middle school album; scrapped 6 pages to complete my 2010 chronological album; scrapped 18 pages to complete my 2011 chronological album; updated my Christmas card photo albums and made Clara two photo books with her cross country and track photos from sophomore year.  
These last few days have been spent "feathering my nest" by going through all the photographs on my computer and iphone and trying to get them organized (at least in my head). I ordered all the photographs from my computer that I plan to scrap with paper, as well as photos to complete Clara's birthday album. 
I continue to find the 2,500 photos on my camera roll on my iphone a challenge to organize and order. But I did make some headway by following everyone's advice about getting Dropbox as an easy way to get the photos off my phone and on to my computer. I have been finding the dropbox-shutterfly interface to work pretty easily, so I will keep using that to order photos off my phone for 2013, 2014 and 2015. Then I resolve to reclaim the storage space on my phone by deleting the old photos from my camera roll! And to use my big camera more. 
One of the biggest epiphanies I had while looking through all these photos was that the best way to deal with a big bunch of them is to create a photo book for Clara's work at the Humane Society and Guide Dogs for the Blind. I have never taken my big camera along to these places, but I have hundreds of photos on my iphone from our time volunteering. 
So, at the end of week 3 of February, here are my remaining projects:
1. Photo book with Clara's volunteer work at Humane Society and Guide Dogs (probably 8x8 from shutterfly).
2. Photo book with Barcelona pictures (probably 12x12 mixbook).
3. Order photos from iphone (through Dropbox and Shuttefly).
4. Organize 2012, 2013 and 2014/2015 to paper scrap.
5. Scrap 2012, 2013 and 2014/2015.
6. Update Henry's sports album
7. My heritage/genealogy album - a project I haven't mentioned before because it's always on the very bottom of my to-do list. But it is something I would like to do . . . someday!
8. And, finally, I do occasionally think about taking our wedding photos out of the album we received 30 years ago and scrapping them (mainly so I can add journaling). Not sure I will ever do this. Thoughts appreciated on this one!
I know I won't get through these all before the end of February, but I will probably go ahead and move on to my March intention, while continuing to work on these projects for the rest of the year (or the rest of my life - LOL!).
And now for some quick product reviews:
Shutterfly 12x12 Hardcover Photo Books
Love these! I made one for Clara's sophomore XC season and one for Clara's sophomore track season. More importantly, she loved them and asked immediately if I would make her one for this year! Since all my photos were already up on the shutterfly site, the photo book part went together really quickly. It took a bit longer to go back and add the journaling. The quality is good, and they came really quickly in the mail. They can be a bit pricey, but they are very affordable if you wait until there's an appropriate sale (because there's always a sale at shutterfly, and retailmenot often has discount codes as well). I got mine during a 50% off hard cover book sale, plus found a free shipping code and another code for some additional percentage off my entire order. I'll definitely use shutterfly to make her photo books for the rest of her running seasons and will use them for a book on her volunteer work.
Shutterfly Prints
Eh, all of okay. Quality is basically fine, especially if I'm printing iphone photos. Price is very reasonable. Order takes a loooong time to arrive in the mail. I'll use them to order the rest of the photos I want from my iphone, since their interface with drop box works pretty well.
Persnickety Prints
I really liked the quality of these! The photographs arrived super fast. More costly than Shutterfly, but the couple of cents difference is such a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of all my other scrapbooking supplies. Since I truly believe that the photos should be the star of the layout, I don't mind paying more. I'll continue to use this service to print photographs taken with my DSLR. Thanks to Melissa and Karen for suggesting this service in response to this post. Blog friends really do offer the best advice!
Drop Box
Thanks to Missus Wookie and Helena for suggesting this service in response to this recent post.  I had to upgrade to accommodate all the photos on my iphone and camera, but I'm happy to have a safe backup for my photos. And I'm very happy to find a low-frustration way to get photos off my iphone and into print! I'm also hoping I can use it as an easy way to upload photos from my iphone onto my blog. Still experimenting with it, since I thought I had cropped my toes out of the photobook photo, but they showed up in the drop box photo! LOL! I'm thinking that it preserves the original photo, not the unedited one, which is a bit of a bummer. Any advice from you drop box gurus?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Luna's Latest Portraits

Our little pup is growing up!
Luna at 3.5 months (about fourteen weeks).
Goofy girl
Playing with side lighting.
Even models get dog tired.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Scrapbooking with Page Elements from Swaps

My last big group of photographs to scrap from 2011 were from my niece's quincenera (a Mexican religious birthday party/celebration for a girl's fifteenth birthday). The photographs were all very feminine, with lots of purples. In order to scrap them quickly, I turned to my large bin of page elements that I have received from swaps over the years. This page used a kit, which had a title, border and journaling block. Simple, but effective.
For this page, I found the border on the top of the left hand page in my bin. I created a complimentary border for the right hand page. Again, very simple, but pretty. And done!
Finally, this page elements kit had a title border, a tag, a hanging journaling box, several photo mats (including one nicely embellished) and a pretty hand-made dress element. I thought it was perfect for this group of photographs!
I haven't been involved in a page elements swap in years, but I'm glad I still have a few of these kicking around in my stash, as they make my scrapping go really quickly! Do you have any similar hand made elements hanging out in your stash?