Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Obsession!

HDR Photography! It's a technique that allows a greater dynamic range of luminance between the lightest and darkest areas of an image, different then current imaging methods. I take three photographs at different stops, merge them, and then process them. Here's a little of what I've done so far. The subject matter is not that interesting, but HDR makes EVERYTHING a little more interesting.




One busy week!

It started with Christmas. Actually it started with our trip to Great Wolf, then Christmas Eve and finally Christmas. But it's been a week since I blogged, and a lot has happened.

I think this is the first year that the kids didn't wake up just a few hours after I went to sleep. Ashton was the first one up at 8:30AM! Have you ever heard of such a thing?! It was my Christmas miracle! :) Anyway, since we took a trip to Great Wolf for Christmas, the kids only had their stockings and a few presents to open. Their big gift was an XBOX 360 with Kinect. Later that afternoon we went caroling at a retirement home with some friends of ours and their family. It was better then I thought it would be. I don't sing PERIOD. (Unless I'm in the car or at home...only around family). I don't sing at church and I don't even pretend to sing and mouth the words. What's the point of that? To show people that you're singing? Who cares? I certainly don't. But another Christmas miracle. I sang at the retirement home. Weird. Something came over me and I felt like singing....not very loud and not the right words, but I sang.



Afterward, our friends invited us to dinner and we headed back to their house. Usually when I eat at somebody's house (which is SO out of my comfort zone) I offer to bring a green salad because I'm a vegetarian and I don't want them to feel obligated to cook me something vegetarian. That can get awkward and gross. She didn't do anything special and I had corn and a roll. This family was laid back, fun to talk to and we had a good time.

Then on Wednesday the 29th, we went to Pacific City Thousand Trails where we used our free cabin rental before the end of the year. We stopped at Best Buy on our way out of town to exchange the XBOX/kinect because the console opened and scratched the disc it came with and we had to return the whole thing which was lame.

On our way to the beach, which was only a 2 hour drive, we encountered, rain, sleet, snow and sun. It was a beautiful drive to and from and most of the pictures I took were out my window at 60mph.

I did manage to use my tripod that I got for Christmas ONCE while there, but a whole lot more since I've been home. It was a quick trip but it's always fun to get away.

Some pics of our cabin...where I did not sleep. The bed was a full, I'm used to a King. It was only a 6 ft mattress, wall to wall, no stretching room, with a bunk up top. I got claustrophobic and had to switch spots with Anson, then kicked the walls all night.  :)



This is where we parked the van and walked the rest of the way down to the beach.
9:30am behind our cabin.


Anson Jr. on the beach. Haystack Rock in the background.

Snow along the pass.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve

My mom's Christmas tree.



Skype-ing with Mike and Keiko in Japan.

Ryan and his creepy trenchcoat.






Thursday, December 23, 2010

Great Wolf Lodge

I'm exhausted!







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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Designs

Anson is almost done with his schooling and will be be a Dr. It's very exciting but he will be a Doctor and what am I? I don't have a degree or anything and was feeling pretty inadequate. I brought this up to him a couple of days ago and he told me that I was a graphic designer. I laughed because I'm not a graphic designer. But he said something that changed my mind. He said that I don't have to have a degree to be a graphic designer or make big elaborate designs and reminded me about a graphic designer neighbor who designed cereal boxes of all things. He said that there are thousands of people all over the world, walking around wearing my designs on clothing that they bought at Dazzled By Twilight. I would say that I'm a pretty successful graphic designer. Here are the most popular designs. Team Jacob and Team Edward of course! (Click image to view larger.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cupcake decorating

I love making Gingerbread houses with the kids, but they take up a lot of space, the candy gets icky and we just end up throwing them away anyway. It seemed like such a waste. So last weekend I made cupcakes instead and let the kids decorate them.








Sunday, December 19, 2010

Santa's workshop with a twist....

I have been so stressed out! Last week was HORRIBLE. We have been getting so many "special orders" from Dazzled By Twilight this season because they are out of stock on a lot of merchandise and everybody wants their stuff by Christmas. The bad part about that is, I got 10+ e-mails of what people ordered, with their addresses, and got so confused when I had to order the clothing through our supplier in Portland that I ordered stuff that I didn't need, forgot stuff that I did need and then our supplier screwed up giving us sizes we didn't need, left out sizes we did need, forgetting stuff I ordered and then giving us the wrong thing. It was a disaster. This all happened on Friday, but despite of that, I was able to complete about 20 orders and get them shipped. Most of the items were of "Team Edward", but the rest were of different designs with only 1 or 2 items of each design. It was a pain. Tomorrow, because of all the mess ups, I have to go back down to our supplier and get the rest of what we need and exchange the stuff they gave us and get the right stuff. I have to go get it, print it,ship it and make Ammon's Dr. appt. at 3PM! On top of that the kids are on their holiday break and it's so hard to get work done while making sure they don't kill each other. Tomorrow is going to be STRESSFUL, and hopefully I will get to relax for a day before we head up to Great Wolf Lodge...

My workshop or my own personal hell?


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Internship Update

It kind of sucks that we have to pay for the plane ticket to North Carolina for Anson's internship interview, but whatever. He has another interview! Well it's a phone interview at first, but if that goes well I'm assuming they schedule a face to face interview. Anyway, the phone interview is for a facility in Indi-freakin-ana. I'm not sure which city, but man, why couldn't he get interviews in Arizona or somewhere this side of the US?


We are still waiting on a few more acceptance/rejection letters before we know if these are our only options. He interviews well but these places interview like 20 people and only choose 1 or 2. I guess the only advantage of moving across the US is to see what it's like beyond Utah, Montana and Wyoming because that's the farthest I've ever traveled and it would be nice to see what else is out there.

Fun facts about Indiana:


  • Santa Claus, Indiana receives over one half million letters and requests at Christmas time.

  • More than 100 species of trees are native to Indiana. Before the pioneer's arrive more than 80% of Indiana was covered with forest. Now only 17% of the state is considered forested.

  • Historic Parke County has 32 covered bridges and is the Covered Bridge Capital of the world.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Merry Christmas!


Anson Jr. is the most difficult person to get a picture of. He's always making faces so I picked the best one out of the bunch I took. He really isn't mad, he just looks like it. So there you have it!



Looking back on the pictures all the boys made crazy faces. Here's another version of our Christmas card...


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Internship Interview

Anson has been getting one rejection letter after another and was convinced that he wouldn't get an interview for this first round of picks. BUT today he got an interview for......North freakin' Carolina, all the way across the US on the East Coast! His interview is in late January so we won't know anything for awhile.



What do I know about North Carolina?
Nothing, but here's something from the other Carolina!



And here is Jimmy Kimmel
trying to make sense out of what she said.



Funny stuff! But there is nothing funny about possibly moving to either Carolina!


Fun Facts about North Carolina:


The Outer Banks of NC hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.

The first English colony in America was located on Roanoke Island. Walter Raleigh founded it. The colony mysteriously vanished with no trace except for the word "Croatoan" scrawled on a nearby tree.

Krispy Kreme Doughnut was founded in Winston-Salem.
 
The Venus Fly-Trap is native to Hampstead.

Grandfather Mountain, highest peak in the Blue Ridge, is the only private park in the world designated by the United Nations as an International Biosphere Reserve.

Pepsi was invented and first served in New Bern in 1898.

North Carolina has 1,500 lakes of 10 acres or more in size and 37,000 miles of fresh water streams.




Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Art Evolution

I used to loved drawing, painting and other forms of art, but in the last couple of years my "art" has changed. I haven't enjoyed drawing for years because it takes so much time and you have to be so precise and accurate. It just wasn't fun anymore. The same goes with painting....it took a long time and the clean-up afterward sucked. I didn't enjoy that anymore either. So, I took up photography a couple of years ago because it was quick and easy. I didn't have to create anything. The art was right in front of me and all I had to do was push a button! I have come to realize over the last couple of years, that the type of photography I enjoy is nature and landscape but it wasn't until yesterday that I came across a photography blog of a "natural light photographer" and it hit me... That is exactly what I am, a natural light photographer!

Everything makes so much sense now. A couple of years ago, Anson bought me portable lights and umbrellas. What a great gift, right? But I didn't like them and took them back. Anson couldn't understand why I would do that. He really thought I wanted to do portrait photography but I didn't want to do that kind at all. I didn't want to deal with taking equipment somewhere, and blah, blah, blah. That was taking all the fun out of it, but I didn't understand that at the time.

Now I finally have a name for what I enjoy.
It feels really good to come to a realization like that!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Weightloss Update

I lost 3 more pounds!
That's a grand total of 5 lbs. folks!
Yea me!

P.S. Jogging on the treadmill yesterday was the easiest it has been since I started last Monday. I hope it's just as easy today. Time to put some tunes on and sweat!

Monday, December 6, 2010

American Pickers

I hardly ever win anything...really. So when I came across a blog that I follow called, Junk Sophisticate, who were actually contacted by the show American Pickers to giveaway their complete first season on DVD, I entered. It wasn't hard. All I had to do was leave a comment on their blog or facebook wall and mention something about the giveaway. I thought it would up my chances of winning if I actually mentioned my favorite episodes, which was "Mole Man" from season 1 and "Hobo Jack" from season 2.

If you've never watched the show before, two guys drive all over America looking for and buying collectibles and antiques. It sounds boring but it's not. They explore people's homes, sheds, barns and outbuildings and find all kinds of cool stuff. They meet a lot of unusual people who have a lot of unusual things.

Mole Man was a guy who dug tunnels underground and reinforced the walls with cinder blocks, old doors, furniture, and anything else he can scrounge. It's really amazing to see just how long the tunnels ran and how deep they went. That's a place I would have loved to have seen in person....as long as I wasn't alone with Mole Man.

Hobo Jack (season 2)was a pretty cool episode too. The American Pickers didn't drive down the driveway area to Hobo Jacks place because it was really muddy and they thought the van might get stuck. It was a heavily wooded area and the guys began walking down the long driveway. They heard music as they walked and it got louder and louder until finally they saw Hobo Jack sitting on the back of a car strumming his guitar and playing the harmonica. How cool would that be?! Hobo Jack turned out to have quite the collection too!


Season 3 premiers tonight and I'm very excited!
Anyway, long story short....
I WON the Season 1 DVD set! :)

I found the episode with Hobo Jack.
There are two stories on this episode...Hobo Jack is the last one.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Heart Faces - Self Portrait Challenge

I Heart Faces, a blog that I follow is having a self portrait challenge and I thought that I would participate, since self portraits are something I like to do every once in awhile. This is a self portrait that I took last Friday.






Friday, December 3, 2010

Look what I got!

I think I blogged about this at some point, but just to refresh your memory, I entered a photo contest with my Credit Union and won 1st place and $200. Remember? Okay, good. Every year they make a calendar and put 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in it as well as other entries. I have been waiting and waiting and waiting, worried that they weren't going to do it this year because it was so late in the year, but it FINALLY came in the mail today! I was SO EXCITED!!! They sell for $10 at the Credit Union and all proceeds got to Doernbecher Children's Hospital. How great is that?! Anyway...


Here's the cover:

1st Place

2nd Place
3rd Place
And the back cover.
There was some steep competition this year!
My favorite is of that barn on the back cover.
Soooooo pretty!