Monday, January 30, 2012

The Vintage One

This has been such a busy week. I am working days, nights... and anywhere else I can squeeze in an odd job! I’ve also decided to start working on some new songs. I have been waiting around, but time is a’ wasting. Meanwhile.... I have been ramping up my photog business and getting as many new jobs as I can. I had two back-to-back on Saturday for Mission Viejo High School’s Winter Formal, and by the time I got back for the second one, it was getting dark. But the subject, 14-year-old Allie, was way fun. She and some other freshmen were going without dates to the dance as friends, and Allie had her hair done in a vintage 40s style, and she did her makeup to match. I had a blast snapping a few quick shots before the sun fled the scene entirely...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The One With the Project 24 Challenge

I love Florabella, and I love this challenge:

My first entry (they don’t have to go in order) is #14, a Faceless Portrait.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

The One With Resolution #4

Spend more time on Pinterest. Why? Because it makes me happy. WARNING: If you have never visited Pinterest, do not (and I repeat, DO NOT) click on the above link. You have been warned.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The One That Fell Flat

So I learned something this week. Substituting bulgur wheat for regular whole wheat in my bread recipe does not work. Dillon made a batch of bread with it a few days ago, which turned out flat and lumpy. So a couple of days ago, I tried it. The dough was the consistency of Play-Dough and I knew it was not going to turn out well. So yesterday, being out of the nice soft white wheat I most like to bake with, I went ahead and made a batch of white bread. You can see my bulgur wheat effort, next to the perfect white loaf.

Apparently bulgur wheat has been parboiled and dried. I’m not sure how that affects the bread, but I did notice that there was no elasticity to the dough... the gluten did not develop as it kneaded. Oh well, you live and learn. I let Skippy give away a loaf to a neighbor family (the good batch, not the short lumpy one) and he said, “Mrs. Keely says she has never ever had homemade bread before.” And then this morning I got a text from Cambria’s seminary teacher, asking me to bring a treat. I offered cinnamon rolls or homemade bread with honey butter, and the immediate response was homemade bread! So much easier. So I’ll be making another batch today.

If you haven’t tried my go-to bread recipe, you should. It is seriously the easiest bread to make. Here is the recipe, which I haven’t posted in awhile... and I happen to think that the loaf pans make a huge difference, and I use the 1-lb. size of these:

Magic Loaf Pans

Victoria’s Six-Minute Magic Bread

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The One With Resolution #3

Take more photos. Okay, not even remotely specific enough. So here are my very specific goals for 2012 with regards to photography.

1. Take a few photos every week. I have some cool ones in mind for next week. Here is one of my favorites from last month:

2. Photograph a wedding. I have shied away from this in the past, but I really think I would like to do it. Maybe a two-camera shoot. I love doing engagement photos, and this is the next logical step.

3. Before this year is over, I want a new camera bag. A girlie camera bag. This is my Tyrannosaurus Rex of a bag. I hate it so much. It is hard to open and close. It is ugly. It is an ergonomic nightmare, as it can not ever lay close to the body, fit nicely under my arm, or strap comfortably over the shoulder. It is impossible to carry while actually shooting photos, and so is constantly being left under some tree somewhere, and when I travel by plane, I find myself placing my nice camera body and lenses in an unpadded handbag or backpack not even remotely protective enough for the job. It is 15x9x9 inches, and unless the buckles are fastened, the Velcro is not strong enough to hold the bag closed when I pick up the strap:

But here is the bag I have been thinking about: the B Hobo Bag by Kelly Moore. What’s the holdup, you ask? About $170. Ugh. I can’t justify it when there are so many other things to pay for, and I am always the last to get a present. That is how it always is for moms. But I can dream, right? It would make #1 above so much easier if I had an easy bag to grab when I was heading out the door!

I really like the Mustard color, but I don’t think it’s me, exactly. I think the one that really does it for me is the Red, due in no small part to the video on the Kelly Moore website... I can never resist a music video. I defy you to watch this and NOT covet the bag in red...

Kelly Moore Bag Promo Film 2010 from Joshua Smith on Vimeo.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The One With Resolution #2

I’ve been thinking about this one for awhile. Trying to decide. But here we go. Once a week I’m going to give a loaf of bread to someone. I don’t know who (to whom?). But no one doesn’t love homemade bread. Also, my family at home has shrunk, and we don’t go through three loaves as quickly as we used to!

A lot of nice people have done a lot of nice things for me over the past year. I have been in hibernation mode... working a lot and saying “no” a lot more than I usually do. This is going to be a year of saying “yes” as often as I can, and trying to get outside myself a little. So starting tomorrow... a loaf a week. If you know someone who really needs a loaf, feel free to nominate them... there are 51 weeks of bread left in the year.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The One With Resolution #1

I am not a big fan of “New Year’s resolutions.” I am not opposed to goal-setting, but I prefer to do that throughout the year. This year, though, I am going to throw a few out there. One a day... until I just get bored.

So for today:

New Year’s Resolution #1. Take longer showers.

Yes, I know that is not very green of me. Trabuco Canyon Water District does not appreciate it. Al Gore just got a little grumpier, without even knowing why. But I deserve it. At least an extra minute of nice hot water, Spotify music pouring out of my phone, fogging up the mirrors, no one bugging me.

I think this one could stick. And for a little touch of irony, I pulled that little shower illustration off the Alliance for Water Efficiency website. You’re welcome.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The One With Roxy Ann

Just happened to see this photo on Facebook tonight. My nephew Elijah posted it of his grandpa... my dad. He is holding Roxy Ann, the golden retriever puppy he bought my mom to keep her company just a couple of months before he died of cancer. It has been three years, and it surprised me how heartbroken I have felt all night after seeing this photo. I miss him so much, and I wish he could see all the things I have done this past year. He would have loved 2011.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The One With New Year’s, Timeline and the Selfie

Happy New Year! And guess what? I am posting again! It has only been about a week. I’m trying to get back into the swing of blogging. And I actually finished a book I started about four months ago! I feel like a new person. New Year, new person... and Facebook (yes, another Facebook post) rolled out their new “Timeline” profiles. Everyone will probably complain because no one likes change, but I happen to think this one is pretty cool. You can look at your life on a timeline and add events, locations on a map and photos to highlight it. It also lets you click on a year in the past and read what was happening on your Facebook then... so if you have some old boyfriend lurking in 2007, best to delete delete delete. And the good news is, you can. Once you click to change over to the new Timeline format, you have seven days before your profile goes live to the world, in order to make any changes you like and clean all the skeletons out of your closet.

One of the cool features of the new Timeline is that it gives you a big photo that they call your Cover Photo, with a smaller inset profile photo. The Cover Photo is really a banner like you would use at the top of your blog or on a website. I decided before my Timeline went live at the first of the year that I wanted a cover photo that would represent me and my interests. I couldn’t figure out a way to represent my music. I tried a couple of different things and didn’t like them. I have been doing a lot of photos for people lately, so I figured I would put up a cover photo that showed my photography.

But I didn’t have anyone to take the photo, so I took it myself. Here is the raw photo. (Yes, I am showing you my raw photo!) P.S. If you want to see up close what I am doing to this one, you can click on each photo to see it full-size.

Now, to fix the problems. First, the photo was taken by the camera in the photo, using a mirror. So the photo had to be reversed. Secondly it was taken in my bedroom, and to get the morning light coming in the window I had to face the French doors, which put the smoke detector and bedroom doors in the photo. Had to at least minimize that.

Then fix any major facial flaws... had a little acne going on, especially on my forehead... and then the fun part. Adding a Photoshop action. I tried a few different ones. It is interesting how once you find a photoshop action that flatters the subject, it usually works on most of their pictures really nicely. For me, Starlet from Florabella was magic. Brightened everything up, added a cool center light and burned the edges a bit. Only thing I don’t totally care for was that it burned my outside arm along with the edges, which makes it look kind of red and chapped. Could have fixed that, but I didn’t really care, especially since my arm doesn’t even show on the Facebook Timeline... the photos are cropped wide and short.

Oh, and the finishing touch. A cool ornament for the corner. :)

AND it goes along with two of my resolutions:

1. Take more photos

2. Spend less time straightening my hair. :)