Thursday, October 25, 2012

Compassion's Christmas Gift Catalog

Compassion's Christmas Gift Catalog is now available online!
You can view all of the gifts online, but you can order a catalog here.
Have some questions about the gift catatog? You will find answers here.
I love that there are so many choices to help make a difference! You can $4 to help protect one child from parasites... can also share in the gift by helping to provide a roof for a highly vulnerable child and family.
We have already had a family discussion about scaling back our Christmas gifts this year so that we can make a purchase from the catalog to help spread some Christmas joy!
What gift are you drawn to?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Joy Dare - restart

Back in January, I started a new journal. I was determined to make an effort to follow The Joy Dare. How hard could it be? Every day, write down three things that you are thankful for. Well, as life would have it, my journal has been neglected for most of the year.

Rather than feel defeated, I can do a restart! When I look through my journal, I can see that I actually have made some progress. Not consistently, but there are 291 entries. That is 291 things that I have taken the time to write down that I am thankful for this year!

Has your Joy journal been neglected lately? Let's purpose together to continue these lists that can help us change our attitudes, help us to see that He is with us in the little things that we encounter as moms each and every day.

286. candlelight
287. raindrops
288. orange mums
289. homemade toasted cheese sandwich with sweet pickles and dijon mustard
290. blue sky peeking through a cloud-filled sky
291. afternoon Bible study

Monday, October 22, 2012

Window Light - Take 2

One thing that makes it a little difficult to plan out window light shots at my home, we have no windows on the south side of our home (except for little bathroom windows). So the best time for me to try good window light shots is either morning or late afternoon right now. Of course this will be different depending on the season.

So last week after I did my window light still shots in the morning, I convinced my kids to let me practice on them...again... :o) Some of these shots are from one afternoon, some I did the next day.

Which one is your favorite?

Friday, October 19, 2012


life rearranged
Time for a review of my Instagram photos from the past week!
 I was inspired last week by one of the InstaFriday posts to do some organizing in my kitchen. I decided to work on my cupboard at a time. Here is the contents of one cupboard.

The picture on the left is at after photo of the cleaned out cupboard, the picture on the right was the one I needed to tackle the next day.

 Compassion Event Volunteer Time! I love being available to help find sponsors for these kids at events and concerts.
 The concert we attended this time was really close to home this time. And, the Compassion table was set up inside the auditorium. We enjoyed listening to Heavens to Betsy, Dara Maclean, Jason Castro, and For King and Country. If this concert comes through your town, be sure to go! It was a great night of worship!

 Day 3 of kitchen cupboard cleaning...the dreaded baking cupboard! Yikes!
 Ahhh, so much better! And look, there is room on the top shelf!
 On Wednesday night, Kelsey decided the two of us should play a game of Scrabble. We only had just a few tiles left by the end of the game.
 Even though my photography class was postponed last night, I decided to work on my homework. This little guy sits on a shelf in my entry way. The 'trust God' sign was made by Matthew a really long time ago. Isn't it the perfect reminder for all of us? So simple and so profound...
 Another amazingly full cupboard! I believe I have enough tea to last me for years to come! Tea party anyone?
Petite Vanilla Bean Scones - these are for Kelsey's game night tonight with some of her friends, but I am exchanging a few of these with a young lady from our church. She made coconut macaroons last night and posted a picture on Instagram. So tonight I will be able to have scones and macaroons...maybe with some tea!
Are you on Instagram? Let me know in the comments and I can follow you! Be sure to link up with Life Rearranged each week for our InstaFriday posts too!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Photography Homework: Window Light

Last week in my photography class, we were learning about using window light. Because I didn't have any willing subjects this morning, I improvised with a couple of different stills. Our assignement was to have the subject facing you, have the subject face the light, and try to get a couple different expressions. Working with what I had, here is what I shot:
 1/320s, f/5.6 at 40.0mm iso100
 1/320s, f/5.6 at 46.0mm iso100
 1/320s, f/5.6 at 24.0mm iso100
 1/320s, f/5.6 at 36.0mm iso100
 1/200s, f/7.1 at 55.0mm iso100
And here is my first attempt at a Photoshop Elements edit. Not really sure what I was doing (layers?), so I need to spend some time learning what I can do in this program.

Stay tuned, because I was able to use live subjects tonight with window light on the opposite side of the house. :o)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pinterest Christmas Ornaments

Every year since I can remember, I have purchased Christmas ornaments for each member of our little family.
But with all the creative ideas I have seen on Pinterest, I decided to make our ornaments this year.

I did all the embroidery on these last week at our Pinterest party...

Today, I took the time to finish them up a bit...
I wanted to back them all with a bit of felt, so I removed the embroidery hoop, placed the fabric on top of the felt, then added the hoop back onto the fabric and the felt.

 Then I trimmed off the excess fabric and felt around the embroidery hoop.

 I added a touch of glue around the cut fabric to seal the edges.
 Added some ribbon around each hoop...

...and a bit of ribbon at the top so these can be hung on our Christmas tree this year. One more completed Pinterest project!
Have you completed a Pinterest project lately?

Friday, October 12, 2012


life rearranged
Have you had a chance to pop over to Life Reaaranged yet? I am really enjoying taking the time to recap my Instagram photos each week!

Here we go...

 It was a Pinterst week around here! Kev cut and put together this mason jar box project for me, so I spent time this week finishing it up. To give the wood a weathered look, you start by staining the wood with a somewhat dark stain. Since the stain has to dry, of course we move onto other things...
So about mid afternoon on Monday, Matthew mentions that he has to bring something to his Italian class the next day. Good thing he knows his way around the kitchen. He actually made biscotti and impressed his teacher!
Getting really tired of pale hospital green paint in my bathroom. It is the only room in the house that hasn't been repainted since we moved in here 6 1/2 years ago. Not really sure if I want to go with these colors yet...

 Happy Compassion mail day! I received a letter from Abner this week!

Finally finished! One summer afternoon, Kelsey and I found a cute tear-off pattern sheet at Michael's. I thought, that would be a really cute blanket to make! Three months and over 200 rows later, it is done! Now to decide what to do with it, Kelsey thinks I should save it for one of my future grandchildren. Not sure if I should hang onto it for that long...

Kelsey and I enjoyed fall tea and cookies one afternoon this week. The last few days have been unseasonally cool, overcast, and a little gloomy. Looks like our normal October weather will be returning soon... :o)

Mason jar crate done! After the stain, you spray paint the wood with an antique white paint. Then you sand off most of the spray paint to give the wood that 'weathered' look. I forgot to take a picture of the box with the jars and flowers in it! I was hoping to use it as a centerpiece for our table, but it is larger than I anticipated...still trying to decide where it will live...

Yesterday brought use a sprinkle of rain, so we lit a few candles. Kev and the kids made this tea cup candle for Mother's Day, isn't it cute? :o)

 Pinterest Party treat! Vanilla Chai Cupcakes
Since I had 2 cups of hot tea yesterday, I starting searching on Pinterest for mug cozy patterns. Found this one which is actually a mug cozy coaster! So quick and easy to crochet, I made 2 yesterday!

 Got together with some of the young ladies from our church for our first Pinterest Party! We each brought our own project supplies and spent a few hours this afternoon working on one of our Pinterest pins. We have already scheduled our next meeting we had so much fun!
I had planned on working on this project, but I didn't have the right color paints at home. So a little last minute scrambling and I was able to work on these which will be new ornaments for our Christmas tree this year.

It was a pretty busy day around here, but we made time tonight to work on Christmas cards for unsponsored Compassion kids. This is something we did last year too. If this is something you might be interested in doing, be sure to leave a comment and I can get the information to you.

So how was your Instagram week? Be sure to link up with Life Rearranged to share your Instagram week with us!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My latest homework assignment: Portraits

We are probably about half way through the photography class I am taking and I am starting to feel a lot more comfortable taking pictures in the manual setting now. I know I still have a lot to learn, but our latest assignment allowed me to use two of my favortie subjects!

 1/40s, f/5.0, iso 100 at 92.0mm
This one is straight out of the camera. Since I have an old version of Photoshop Elements (6.0, should I upgrade?) and I just purchased a used book to try to learn the program, I went through and did a quick edit on this one.
 This is the quick edit version. Do you see any difference? My instructor said I did good camera work on the portraits, but a little processing would enhance them a bit. Guess I need to spend a little more time learning Elements!
 1/80s, f/4.2, iso 100 at75.0mm
Again, here is the straight out of the camera shot, and here...
...the quick edit version. I know I could probably crop in on this one so that both photos are cropped similar (the grandparents might like these for Christmas!)
I wonder what we are going to learn at our next class?