If there is one US store that I wish would come to Canada, it's JCrew. I love their clothes. They are beautiful, they fit like a dream, and they last forever. I have some pieces from 10 years ago that still look like new.
Last week, I ordered three dresses from their final summer clearance section on the website. I am almost back to my pre-baby weight, but a lot of my old dresses are still a size smaller, and I don't foresee myself losing anymore. It felt like every dress I had was a size too big (frumpy), or a size too small (sausage casing). I was thrilled when the package arrived and all three dresses fit like a dream. Q took some quick snaps of my little fashion show:
It cracks me up how Audrey was watching me bevel, and then copied it herself:
I did a hybrid layout based on these photo last night, using a Paislee Press kit called Sociologie.
Today I thought I would share my process on two layouts that I completed this afternoon. They were both inspired by the back page of our Local magazine. (It's actually called Local. You can check it out here.) It's a free publication, with very cool articles of Local significance. Here is the back page that inspired me:
I love the white space, the photo, the words above the photo, and the title placement. It immediately made me think of our family photo from Hawaii, that I have been struggling to fit into a layout. Here was the perfect opportunity to feature a busy photo in a clean and simple design.
For this layout I used Microsoft Works. First, I cropped my photo to 3.5X8.5 in Picasa. Then I opened a new document in Works, and I dragged the little arrows on the top ruler all the way out, so that I would have full bleed across the page. I inserted my photo, then typed everyone's name above in teal.
I decided just to print this off on a piece of photo paper and embellish from there. (Yay, Costco, for making photo paper more affordable!) One important thing to remember is that you must go into Printer Properties, and the Page Setup, to click Borderless Printing. I also always check the Preview button, so that before it goes to print I can see what it's going to look like. I can then make sure that none of my journaling has been cut off:
After printing off my photo and words, I referred back to the magazine cover to guide me in my title and embellishments. Here is the finished product:
For the second layout, I took a photo from our getaway last week. (Q and I had a 24 hour mini break in Niagara-on-the-Lake while his parents were in town, looking after the girls.) I took a photo of us using the timer on my camera that I wanted to use in a layout, called "Us Time". I chose to use PSE 7 for this layout, because I wanted to use digital elements, and layer type onto the photo.
I cropped the photo to the same size, and opened a new document in PSE 7, sized 8.5X11 at 300dpi. I dragged the photo into my document, added some journaling to the top left corner, and added a digital border by Paislee Press:
I went through the same process to print-- checking the Printer Properties, the Preview, and checking the Borderless Printing box. Then I hit print.
Since Q really doesn't like overly embellished pages, I kept it super simple for him. I added two rub-ons from Sassafras, and alpha stickers from Pink Paislee. That's it! Here is the finished product:
So, that's one inspiration piece, and two hybrid layouts using two pieces of software. All of which took less time than I've spent on one layout many a time!
Anyone out there want to use the same inspiration piece? If so, link me up to the layout you create! There might be something in it for ya... :)
Dear Lily, On your first birthday it rained and poured and thundered like crazy. (Now that I think of it, it rained the day you were born, too.) Your Grandma and Uber came to visit from Vancouver, and Nana and Granddad came, too. You had cousins there, and lots of friends. You just sat in the middle of it all, like a cherry on top of a sundae, smiling and having fun. There was not one whine or cry the whole time. When the time came, you had a cupcake (made by your Auntie Hee Hee), although you didn't dive into it with with fervour I would have expected.
I baked a cake...well, a mix...but destroyed it when I tried to move it to another plate, so I sent Daddy out that morning for a store-bought one. We also made pizzas, maple salmon bites, goat cheese-stuffed tomatoes, and chocolate chip pretzel bars. The adults drank mimosas, and everyone had a great lunch.
You also started to crawl a little bit on your first birthday, and I'm sure that in a few days you will be motoring across the room.
Everyone said what a sweet and lovely baby you are. Mama got choked up a few times-- no more newborn baby, on your way to a toddler-- but mostly I just gave you many, many kisses and told you how much I love you, and how thankful I am to have you. You are my sweet, precious angel baby. You are pure joy, pure happiness, and Mama is so happy to have her two beautiful girls. Who could ask for more? (Okay, sometimes I joke with Daddy that there is a little boy waiting to come to us. Little Q junior. QJ.)
So, Lily, other than the fact that we weren't able to get outside and get some nice photos of you, for all the rain, your birthday was perfect and wonderful-- just like you.
I am chicken when it comes to using my camera on full manual mode. I generally shoot on Av mode (aperture priority), which allows me to adjust the depth of field, but leaves the shutter speed up to the camera. Every once in a while, I play around with full manual. Tonight I was sitting on the couch, reading my Vogue after the girls were in bed, when I was intrigued by a candle and glass jar on my window sill. Here is the manual progression... straight out of the camera. (That means, no editing at all.)
First, I tried "P" mode, which is like automatic, but you can monkey with the settings a fair bit:
If all I wanted were a photo of the flame, this isn't bad, but that isn't what I was going for. The photo is very dark because the camera is looking at that bright flame and using that to make all of it's decisions about shutter speed and aperture. It's trying to compensate for the brightness, without fully taking into consideration the rest of the frame.
Next I just upped the ISO to 800. ISO is like using a faster film. Remember when we used to buy 100, 200 or 400 film? Same thing. In general, you use 100 or 200 outside, maybe 400 on a cloudy day. You can use anywhere from 400 to 1600 inside. (This is a generalization, but it seems to work for me.) The only caveat is, the higher the ISO, the grainier your photo can be, so with portraits you have to be careful.
A little better, to be sure, and an image you could probably brighten up in Photoshop and be happy. Still, I wanted to see if I could do better. Next I took a deep breath and went to full manual (M). I picked the lowest aperture number, 1.8, which paradoxically is the most open the lens can be, letting in the most light. It also means that only a small part of the frame is fully in focus, the most shallow depth of field. (As in life, photography is often a trade off.) To choose a shutter speed I metered in P mode on something nearby. That is, I switched to P, focused on the window sill, and held the shutter half way down. Then I looked at the read out on my LCD and saw that the camera suggested 1/25 speed for this light and aperture:
Brighter, but too much so. Also, the detail is blown out because the photo is over-exposed. I believe this happened because I shouldn't have light-metered on something so dark. You want to pick something sort of mid range. There happened to be a tan piece of paper on the window sill, so I metered on that, took the reading, and tried again:
I like this. I can see the detail of the glass, and the warmth of the candle. Bottom line, for my level of skill and experience, full manual is only at the experimentation stage. It's good to flex those muscles, though. I don't have any photography training-- just the internet, and some brilliant photographer friends-- but I hope that following my process of manual mode might help some of you understand it all just a little bit better.
So I was making spaghetti for dinner. I fed the kids their dinner first, and the spaghetti aglio olio (garlic and oil) was for Q and I. Then a certain two year old I know started screaming that she wanted our dinner, too-- even though she didn't even eat her own dinner-- which escalated into a full-on tantrum by the time I was draining the pasta.
Then, during an extra loud scream from said two year old, I poured the pot of pasta out too fast, knocking over the colander, and sending the whole thing of spaghetti into the sink and down the garberator.
I hate wasting food. I couldn't even make it again, because that was the end of my spaghetti. Double grr.
Thankfully, Q was there to open a bottle of wine and pour me a glass, as well as take said tantruming two year old upstairs while I fumed. He also went to the grocery store to get us baguette and brie for dinner. And did I mention he brought me flowers? He's a good husband.
Stil, I can't help but picture all that spaghetti going to waste...
Yesterday, my friend Cecile and her husband, Cengiz, renewed their vows in a beautiful wedding. They were married in Turkey last month, and again here in Canada so that all of us could share in their joy. I was happy to be involved in the wedding: helping the bride get dressed, taking the photos, doing a reading, and decorating the guestbook! What a pleasure to spend this day with my dear friend, who I have known since Brownies-- I think we were maybe 7 or 8 years old when we first met. Even though she lives in Turkey now, Cecile and I are close friends, and kindred spirits. I was happy that many of the photos turned out beautifully-- but how can you miss with such a gorgeous couple?
A few days ago Audrey and I went to visit a friend's farm where they keep a few sheep, as well as some chickens. Audrey loved seeing the animals up close, and she loved having a picnic with her friends in a field. The weather was warm and breezy-- a change from the unseasonably cold July we've been having. Such fun!
I completed several layouts this week, and now that I will be off work for a month, I plan to get caught up on a bunch of projects. Here are a few recent layouts:
(The last one is actually a few months old. It was a "Becky's Sketch" for CK that didn't get picked up for publication.)