This is it! The end of a great, year-long chapter called Picture Inspiration. I'm so glad I did this and stuck with it! I've learned so much. What's next? I'm looking forward to doing Picture Black & White in May and June (prompt every other day) with Tracey Clark at BPC. In the meantime, I'll enjoy a couple months off from photo prompts. It'll be strange at first!
P.S. I'm off work this week and the girls are off school. We've been working hard on projects around the house (mostly: purging kids' clothing and cleaning/reorganizing the kitchen).
The final prompt for Picture Inspiration will arrive tomorrow. I've really enjoyed the prompts and community (at BPC) over the past year -- and having a new picture to post in this spot each week! Sometimes it seemed very challenging to get this done, but I managed to take a new photo almost every week (dipping into my archives only three or four times).
This picture surprises me. I was in a hurry, as usual. All I did was light a birthday candle, hold it up with my left hand, and take the picture with my right hand. My camera was on manual: f/5.6, 1/60, ISO 800. It was about 5:20 pm, and I was standing near the kitchen windows for light. The room wasn't dark! I focused on the flame and this is what I got. :)
My trusty Rebel XT. On March 1, 2012, I will have had this camera for 5 years! I think I've taken about 40,000 pictures with it. The numbers just started over recently, and I shoot 7-10K per year. She's captured a lot of memories!
Do you see the heart? I wish I could say it was intentional but I shot this from the other direction (not thinking heart shape at the time) and then rotated it 180 degrees on my computer. As I did that, Sophia spotted the heart right away.
I took this picture with my little Canon PowerShot SD1000, and I got the idea to shoot from above by watching professional food photographer, Penny de los Santos.
I really enjoy Pinterest, but haven't allowed myself to browse it for several months. I've been too busy with commitments. Well, today I finished something I've been working on for more than a year! I couldn't even think about "recuperation" until it was finished. I rewarded myself with a few minutes on Pinterest. :) Picture taken with Instagram on my iPad.
I was just going to take a picture of the late afternoon sun glowing throught the snowy air, when this skier arrived on scene. There are some groomed cross country ski trails in the park near my house. I suppose I should try it someday!
Taken last Sunday (Jan 15). It was 4:30 pm, I was losing daylight fast, and just wanted to get "something" for this prompt. I went outside to look in at my girls (through the front window) and ended up with a picture I LOVE. :)
Our days over the past week have been FULL. Full of various commitments and fun stuff; too full for blogging -- or any other hobby. But I'm still recording some details on a daily basis and I'll share highlights in my monthly roundup. I'm so glad to have that plan in place, as I can't do more than that these days. Okay, off to bed now. Another full week ahead!
The new wreath I bought after Christmas (60% off). I like how it looks on our green door. I've already put it away for next year as I like to clear out Christmas before the new year begins. I took down our tree and put everything away on December 31. Glad to have that done!
I want to remember these girls (my daughters and their cousin, who is like a sister to them) having fun together. I want them to remember this, too! This week, they're having a ball playing Just Dance 3. It was difficult to get a good shot of all four of them. The light in our living room (especially in winter) is very challenging, too.
I'm completely out of spare time, so I let myself off the hook and used a picture from my archives (Jan 2011). This week's prompt was to look for repeating colour, and I'd be hard- pressed to find something better than this.
I'm home from work early today because Neil is sick and I had to pick the girls up from school. This evening, the girls and I will brave the stores and finish our Christmas shopping. I'll be very glad to check that off my list!
This picture came to mind when I received last week's prompt. I took it in 2006 at my paternal grandmother's apartment. The baby in the framed picture is me, photographed by my uncle in 1971. Grandma gave this picture to me when we visited in 2010. It now sits in my scrapbooking area.
I think my youngest daughter (soon-to-be 6) resembles my maternal grandmother, so I had her pose with a picture of Grandma, taken when she was about 2 or 3 years old. I almost managed to capture the same expression. After this, Georgia gave me some great smiles to photograph, but I thought this worked better with the picture she was holding.
I've had this blog post in draft for a week, but couldn't find time to finish it. The past week was a doozy -- perhaps my least favourite week of 2011. Glad it's behind me!
Sunday evening, Georgia came down with a terrible stomach bug -- the worst I've ever seen in any of my children. I was up with her for much of the night. She stayed home from school for two days. I stayed home from work Monday morning so I could get some sleep.
Monday evening, I went shopping for specific-coloured clothing for the girls to wear in their Christmas concert (deep purple for Sophia; dark green for Madeline -- not easy to find!). Thankfully, we were able to borrow some items from my niece, as well. Of course, I wish I had dealt with this sooner. #notetoself
Tuesday, I came down with the dreadful stomach bug and had to leave work about 10:30 am. I went back to work Wednesday afternoon, worked all day Thursday, then had a relapse Thursday evening -- while my children were performing in their school Christmas concert, of all times. I felt increasingly ill through the 2-hour concert, but managed to stay seated on a wish and a prayer. The ginger Gravol I took may have helped, too. We arrived home just in the nick of time.
While I was ill at home Tuesday evening, Neil took Sophia and Madeline to their back-to-back ringette practices (same location, luckily). Neil also had to help on ice for Madeline's practice. Thankfully, Georgia was a very good girl at home while I slept on and off.
On Wednesday (when I was feeling perfectly fine), I attended a work appreciation event that included supper, drinks, and a Pats hockey game at the Brandt Centre. I stayed for the whole game as it was a close one. Unfortunately, the game ended with an overtime goal for the other team (Kelowna). In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have gone. Why have an event like this on December 14? Yeesh.
After I got home from the Pats game, and after reading to the girls, I decided to go to Walmart. Madeline was tremendously upset over the pants and dress options we had given her for the Christmas concert, so I went to get her some black pants. I should really know better than to insist she wear something she hates; she's always been very particular. I didn't get home until after 11:30 pm, but I made Madeline VERY happy.
Thursday morning, I noticed the oil light was flickering intermittently on the van. When I got to work, there was a burning smell. I checked the oil and there was NONE! So I had the van towed to Toyota (glad to have my CAA membership!) and hoped for the best. Toyota fixed it the next day (even though they were "booking into next week") and there was no engine damage. We just had to replace a sensor that had failed and released all of the oil. Phew! Close call.
My work group (Customer Self Serve) had a great potluck lunch on Thursday. Neil made Bison Short Rib Stew for me to take (his own recipe; I'll post it sometime). He made it Wednesday evening and then I re-heated it in a crock pot at work on Thursday morning. I'm very lucky Neil will prepare food for me!
The girls' Christmas concert was delightful (of course!). It was held at the Orr Centre, a fantastic venue with theatre seating. The school's music teacher always does an amazing job of planning the entire concert which only happens once every three years (this is just our second one in six years at the school). I'm very glad we can get a DVD of this year's concert. I'll certainly enjoy it more the next time I see it!
Friday, after working almost all day (I slept an extra 90 minutes to recover from my second round of illness) and supper at home, we all went to the Cornwall Centre so the girls could get Christmas gifts for each other. They had been asking to go for weeks. We came out with five out of six gifts purchased. I had set their budget at $6 per gift, but quickly realized there's very little you can buy for less than $6 (at Claire's, anyway). I let them spend $10 per gift. Sophia also got three out of four Secret Santa gifts for one of her classmates.
Among numerous household chores, Saturday included Sophia's piano lesson and ringette practice (Neil took her to both), and Madeline's ringette game (which we all attended; as well as my Mom). We also managed to get started on gift wrapping (just the girls' gifts to each other). The girls were wondering if we'd ever have gifts under our tree. They feel better now.
Today was quite full with lots of dishes, Sophia baking muffins, Madeline's dance class, lots of Christmas shopping (Neil was armed with a list and his efforts brought us into the range of 3/4 complete. Yay!), and Sophia's piano recital at 4:30 pm. It's been a major struggle trying to get Sophia to practice piano this fall (she won't return after this year). Thankfully, she decided a couple days ago that she didn't want to mess up her recital song so she practiced quite a bit yesterday and today, and succeeded in playing Jingle Bells very nicely at the recital. :)
And Picture the Holidays? I've missed six days now. Momentum. Lost. :( I will try to start again tomorrow (I was enjoying it!), but I won't even try to do the missed prompts until I'm off work. Just four more work days (and much to do in the evenings) and then I have 11 days off! Oh, how I need it.
Every year, we look for small individually wrapped candies or chocolate to fill our Advent calendar. This year, Neil found chocolate at Costco. The bag was huge (1.5 kg) -- more than plenty! (I wish I would have used a different colour as a backdrop in this photo. No time to try again, though.)
On the weekend, we cleaned and cleaned and cleaned (as well as attending piano, dance, three ringette games, and a steak night for another team). Our main floor is looking so much better. A world of difference. We decorated for Christmas last evening (Monday). The tree looks nice with all white lights (I insisted! I refuse to use our dull-coloured LED lights again; they disappoint me). We covered the top of the piano with decorations and put a garland over the window, too. As always, the china cabinet looks nice with our red velvety stockings and Advent calendar. I'm glad we got this done. Now I should probably think about gifts! I haven't purchased a single thing yet. I do have the girls' wish lists, though.
I'm grateful for safe travels and for my husband doing the driving! I took this picture using the Hipstamatic app on my iPad, on our way to Brandon last weekend. I really like how it turned out, especially the repetition of curves and how the window frame leads to (or from) the top left corner. (Can you tell I love the composition class I'm taking?)
For last week's prompt, I'm glad I was able to step out and take some pictures while the sun was shining. It makes all the difference in a picture like this.
No posts for 10 days. Yeesh. It just wasn't possible, though. We've been extra busy and I've been sleeping more thanks to a very nasty cold. Here's a brief recap of the non-ordinary happenings over the past week and a half.
Georgia went to a friend's birthday party at the Science Centre where they watched Cinderella. She wore Madeline's fancy princess dress from Mexico.
Sophia went to Laser Quest and Boston Pizza with her ringette team. Neil, Madeline, and I also went to BP to visit with other parents (M sat with the team).
Sophia scored a hat trick in one of her ringette games. She has a great shot and has scored every time she's played forward this year (all but the first two games).
Sophia enjoyed going to Robin Hood at The Globe Theatre with her school class.
Madeline's ringette team earned their first win of the season (their 8th game). They were very excited. Madeline and Georgia's teachers came to this game.
We all went to the CCA Finals Rodeo. Always fun to watch the girls have a new experience. Barrel racing and dogs herding sheep were the highlights for us.
I took the van to Toyota to get the back door handle fixed. Rather essential for us. And not cheap. Boo.
Madeline enjoyed spending an entire school day at Agribition with her school class.
Neil and I attended parent-teacher meetings with all three teachers. (The girls are doing well.)
We all went to Sophia's ringette tournament in Brandon. We stayed at the brand new Best Western which was nice. The Ice Angelz won 2 of their 3 games (only defeated by Chaos, our niece's team!). In the second game (vs. Winnipeg), Sophia was voted Player of the Game by the opposing team's coaches. She received a nice medal for her efforts. It was very exciting for her and a proud moment for us parents.
I dipped into my archives for Picture Inspiration again this week. Time and daylight aren't on my side these days. I took this picture in early June this year, and I'm happy to share it now as I hadn't previously. It's the seed head of a pasque flower (with some spider webs, I assume) -- and a fascinating bit of nature, don't you think?
This week in Picture Inspiration, Tracey encouraged us to explore using textures on photos, and Kim Klassen provided three textures and a how-to video. I used her KK_LinenLook texture on this photo of a pumpkin blossom I took in September. (To see the texture better, click the photo above to enlarge it.) The original photo is below. I like how the textured photo turned out. The difference is subtle. I tend to be more attracted to colour and clarity in photos so highly-textured photos don't appeal to me, but I've seen some beautiful and artful applications of texture this week.
A decoration hanging on our front door. (I'm so glad I painted this door in August; so much better than white!) The little jack-o-lantern didn't come with the skeleton, but they seem to be a permanent pair now. With this shot and the one below, I was also practicing negative space for The Art of Composition. This evening, I watched the Creative Coaching videos for week 5 (I didn't submit either of these photos for coaching). The videos are such a great way to learn more about each concept. Can't wait to see what week 6 is all about and receive my next prompt for Picture Inspiration! Both will be in my inbox when I get up tomorrow. I love Thursday mornings. :)
This week, Tracey challenged us to feature the pumpkin in a new light or create a story. Our pumpkins wanted to play. :)
I seem to be having a problem getting any blogging done! Last week and weekend were full with a 5-day work week and several activities -- three ringette practices, three ringette games, and four dance classes since I last wrote. Neil also took the girls to see a Rams game on Saturday night.
P.S. Sunday morning, I machine-sewed name patches on four ringette jerseys and it went amazingly well! Both Sophia and Madeline had games in the afternoon.
Since we're having hard frosts night after night now, Sophia was collecting all of the remaining tomatoes from their vines (so we won't have to cover the plants with sheets any longer). I love it when I can capture something real (not staged) for the weekly prompt.
What else is happening around here these days?
Sophia and Madeline's ringette evaluations ended last week and the season started on Saturday with two practices, two parent meetings, and two very different coaches. M's coach (her friend's dad) suggested attending one out-of-town tourney in Saskatoon, and S's coach is insisting on two out-of-province tourneys and at least one more in province. Egad.
Sophia prepared (with help from her parents) a good little report on the Red Baron -- in French. Thank goodness for Google Translate.
Sophia is enjoying Pippi Longstocking. She was really struggling to find something she wanted to read after finishing Harry Potter several weeks ago, so Neil went looking for something in our basement a couple days ago, and emerged with a yellowed, musty-smelling Pippi Longstocking book (it was mine) -- with a pellet lodged in the pages! Rob?
Sophia is into making eggs with the microwave egg cooker she received at school. Always with cheddar cheese mixed in and sometimes ham, too. Great snack!
Madeline has been whipping up some excellent fruit smoothies. I love that the girls are interested in making food for themselves. (Too bad they're not so keen on the clean up.)
The girls have been playing on the iPad: Fruit Ninja, Zombie Farm, Zombie Life, Pac-Man, Angry Birds, My Horse, Cut the Rope, Pictureka, StickWars, Yummy Burger, RacePenguin, Boggle, GarageBand, Drawing Pad, My Sketch, WEcam, and WaterMyPhoto. (Neil also plays Boggle and Angry Birds.)
Sophia and I played a game of Scrabble on the iPad that stretched over several different times and places (at the rink, for example), and Madeline and I have played Boggle together several times. I LOVE that we're playing word games together!
Georgia and Madeline insisted that I make a "snuggle calendar" so we could be sure whose turn it was to snuggle with me at bedtime. :)
Georgia is enjoying kindergarten. She says her favourite part is recess.
I completed the Blurb books I wanted to get done (January to August 2011), which is mostly what kept me from blogging over the past week. I can't believe how much I blogged the first eight months of this year.
Neil and I have both read and watched all of the lessons for The Art of Composition. I especially loved the week 3 video lesson. I really wish we still had good light in the evening; I need to take pictures!
I haven't done a single thing about Halloween! The girls decorated last weekend, but we need to do something about costumes, don't we? Eek.
P.S. Neil called Delta about our kitchen faucet on Friday morning, and on Monday, we received a new hose in the mail, completely free. He installed it that day and there's no more leaking. We've had a bucket under the sink for months! Why do we wait so long?
P.P.S. Also in the past couple of weeks, the girls had some appointments. On Oct 7, Neil took all three to have their eyes checked. They all have good vision and healthy eyes. On Oct 14, I took Sophia to her orthodontist. We were very happy to hear she won't be starting treatment any time soon. He feels he can correct everything with braces after she has grown some more. She'll have another checkup in one year. Sophia learned that she has lost all of her baby teeth. The last one just came out 3 or 4 days before her appointment.
It was challenging to find something long and tall around here (and I didn't want to spend too much time on this). I took a bunch of Sophia and thought this was the most interesting, even though its composition is off. And then there's my trusty echinacea, still standing tall.
Here's how I made out with yesterday's list:
I cleaned the dining room and living room, checked and formatted one big month of blog posts in a Blurb book (one down, seven to go), took photos for Picture Inspiration week 33, reviewed the assignments from The Art of Composition, photographed and uploaded one BSS layout (that I had wanted to make for months and finally made at Crop & Create), and completed one layout from a class I took at Crop & Create. We also looked at kitchen faucets at Lowe's for about 5 minutes, but didn't buy one (a Lowe's employee advised us to call Delta first). Basically, I did one thing completely (#10) and a little bit of six other things on my list. Success? Well, it's more than I thought I'd accomplish!
Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart - Unknown
Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice. - Anton Chekhov
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. - Wayne Gretzky
You are getting your wants confused with your needs. - Stacy Julian's dad
We are weaving character every day, and the way to weave the best character is to be kind and to be useful. Think right, act right; it is what we think and do that makes us who we are. - Elbert Hubbard
I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter. - Blaise Pascal
Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
- Cyril Connolly
To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of
to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
to leave the world a little better;
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is the meaning of success.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson