Thursday, April 30, 2015

Easy-Macro fun

I got something new that I've been having soooo much fun with! Well, actually, I got two somethings new, and they go together. First off, Grandpa got me a new iPad Air for my birthday a few weeks ago! It was a grand surprise! My old one, which I'd had for 4+ years, just didn't quite cut it anymore. It kept crashing and kicking me out of websites, and there was a lot I couldn't do on it. It was getting to be somewhat of a pain. This new one is a dream - I love it!

So let's back up to last Christmas. In her stocking, Jess got from Santa (ahem) an Easy-Macro lens, which is for taking very, very, VERY close-up photos. (Santa bought it on a whim, I happen to know.) She's had a ton of fun taking photos using it on her iPhone. Those of you who follow her on Facebook or Instagram ("howaboutorange" on both) have probably seen some of those pics.

So, after getting this iPad, which has a camera (my old one didn't), I decided to get one of those lenses for myself... as a reward for finishing Jess's dress with a successful fit. (Any excuse will do, right?!) Here's what it looks like:

And here's how it fits over the iPad's camera lens:

Yes, it stretches out that far, but returns nicely to its original size when taken off.

I've had a blast experimenting with taking photos of tiny things. Here is my very first shot, and I think it's still my favorite, just because it's so colorful. It's of the pins in my pin cushion!

The veins on a red prayer plant leaf:

A zipper pull:

Edge of a dandelion:

The tip of a teeny-tiny barely noticeable lilac bud:

(So tell me, is that pollen on there? Is that part of the reason allergies get so bad this time of year? I found tiny specks like that on a lot of plants... even on leaves.)

Next is the covering (what would you call it?) on the new growth shoot on an evergreen tree. Those green "poles" are actually needles:

Last, but certainly not least, is the tip on a new shoot of asparagus. I think we ate it for supper last night. :)

Aren't they just such cool shots? You have to get about an inch from your subject and have a REALLY steady hand (or support yourself with something), but it's just so fun to do! I can't wait to find more little things to take pics of. Okay, I already have more pics, but this is all you get for now.

If you want to follow me on Instagram, I succumbed and opened an account there (now that I have a device with a camera and can actually have an account), so you can see Easy-Macro shots and more (maybe even some sewing project peeks!). My user name is Grandma_G415.

(P.S. It appears that Blogger has left the "specks" this time. Do you suppose they heard me??? I certainly hope so!)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

They're still here

Is it wrong of me to wish they'd get the flu?

Look at the beard!

Struttin' his stuff, back view:

Front view:

Obviously those were two different birds, since this one seems to be missing a few tail feathers!

At least they haven't remembered the birdbath yet. Or I just haven't seen them and they haven't knocked it off the deck yet. (The coons did one night, though. Grr.) I probably just jinxed myself, too.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Blowing bubbles

Yesterday was about as perfect as a day can get, as far as I'm concerned... 70°, clear sky, and only the gentlest of gentle breezes. Courtney came after school, and we spent the whole time outside while she was here, including time for her snack and my tea.

She decided it was also a wonderful day for this:

Notice the variety of blowers... and bubbles.

And the pretty fingernails. :)

I was very happy that nothing showed up here except the bubbles, thanks to my clean camera sensor:

Monday, April 27, 2015

Posing pretty

Friday, April 24, 2015

I cleaned my camera!

If you've been following my blog for long, you know that I've mentioned more than once that my camera needed cleaning. Smudges were visible on photos that had a lot of plain empty space. Can you see the two spots in the sky on the photo below?

At one point in taking those pics, I'd changed the aperture to see if I could get a clearer shot. I did, all right... I got a clearer shot of the dust specs! (That "specs" is Blogger's spelling, not mine... please see comments below!) See?

Yep, those are very magnified tiny dust motes or fibers on the sensor inside my camera. Not a good thing for getting decent photos. I was hesitant to go inside my camera to clean it... just plain scared to do it, actually. But I searched YouTube for videos on how to clean a DSLR. There are plenty there, and I watched a number of them. Some of them tell you to actually get in there and touch that sensor with a special tool and cleaning fluid. I didn't have those particular tools, but luckily I was able to just blow off those specks with my air blower tool from my cleaning kit.

I won't point you to any particular DSLR cleaning video, because there are many helpful ones, except I do want to mention this short one, because it showed how to see if your sensor is really clean. I had to go through the blowing and testing a couple of times before I got a completely clean screen, but I did it! Here's my test result:

Squeaky clean, huh? :) The job really wasn't as scary as I thought it was gonna be, and I wouldn't hesitate to get in there and do it again if it were necessary, which I'm sure it will be eventually. Every time I switch a lens, there's the potential of getting dust in there. I feel like such a pro now - ha!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The reveal

Awhile back, Jess decided it would be fun to have a dress made out of her new Time Warp fabric. She searched for patterns online, and in the meantime, I searched through my "vintage" patterns to see if there were any she might like. Here are a couple of mine that I sent her photos of, and she loved them!

Since I'd made dresses for myself from these patterns many, many, many years ago, I knew something about the fit in relation to their size charts, so I hoped I could get a reasonable fit for Jess from one of them.

Jess created a couple of mock-ups of dresses she thought would be cute, and if you happen to be followers of her Facebook page, you probably saw them.

Since one pattern had a sleeveless dress and the other had the pocket flaps and a collar of sorts, I combined the two. If you noticed, the patterns are two different sizes. Jess mailed me a couple of her dresses that fit well, so I compared them with the patterns to determine which one would work best. I used the smaller one, but fortunately I was able to use the sleeve facing from the larger one, as it fit the smaller armhole perfectly. (Apparently armhole sizes don't change much from one size to the next.)

Since neither pattern had a Peter Pan collar, which was Jess's favorite of the two designs, I just googled for a tutorial, and I ended up making my own pattern, which was pretty simple.

So that's how it all came together, and here, finally, is the result!

Jess was quite impressed that I even matched the print underneath the flaps. (Shhh... don't tell her, but I didn't actually plan that. Nice how it worked out, though, although I doubt she'll go around lifting the flaps for everyone to see! Ha!)

Of course you know how kids like to act silly when doing a photo shoot. My kid did, too:

Really, though, it was the photographer(hubby Alex)'s fault... he told her to act like a tiger for some reason. :) Scary, isn't she?!

You can click on the photos to enlarge them. And be sure to notice the coordinated orange bits on the shoes!

So, there... it's DONE! And it fits! *BIG HAPPY SIGH*

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Brightening my sewing room

I've been bringing my amaryllises out somewhat later the last few years. I guess I started doing that because then it's warmer in the sewing room window where I've been putting them for the best sunshine. My first one is fully open now.

The second one will be blooming soon. The third one has decided to take a vacation from blooming this year, I guess. The fourth is an offspring of the one above, and I think it's not mature enough to bloom yet. BTW, if anyone (local) would like that little one, speak up, because I really don't want two alike... but I don't have the heart to just toss it. :)

Guess what?!?! My last sewing project was a success! It FITS! Perfectly, even!!! I am soooo relieved! Photos are awaiting a photographer and daylight to be available at the same time. I will show you pics when I get them!

Update: I just discovered this morning that my fourth amaryllis, the "offspring", IS indeed going to bloom! The flower stalk popped out since I took those pics yesterday morning and is already about an inch tall!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Crafting with Courtney - Aquarellum

When Courtney was here for a full day the day after Easter, we had plenty of time for projects, so here's another one that we worked on. Have you ever heard of Aquarellum, by SentoSphere? I hadn't, until a friend told me about the kits. This is the cover of the kit I bought:

In it were 4 pages to paint. The pages were very stiff paper, and there was a wax coating on all the unpaintable areas, so the paint wouldn't stick there, making it nearly impossible to go out of the lines. Pretty cool!

The kit came with a little pallet and 5 colors of paint... or actually it was more like ink. There was an eye-dropper thingy we used to get paint from the little bottles to mix in the end-of-finger-sized holes you see:

A color chart was included that showed what basic colors to mix to get about any color you could want:

It was fun! We experimented making different colors... so easy, and our paintings turned out very pretty! Here's Courtney's first project - a peacock:

I did hummingbirds:

And since Courtney finished hers first, she did another page. Look at the lovely brown color she mixed!

I got the kit from Amazon. There are a variety of them, but they're kind of expensive, so it's best to watch for them to be on sale.

We have one more page to go... we may have to fight over who gets to paint it! Ha.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Just a peek

Ahhhh.... I finally finished the project I've been working on! The most recent one that's gotten precedence over writing blog posts. 

Remember this?

Now you'll get to see what it became. It's on its way to its recipient, so you'll get the full picture soon, but for now, here are a couple of "peek" shots I took yesterday as my daylight was fading. They're not the best shots... as you can see the colors don't even match from one photo to the next. And I didn't even take time to press it first, so don't look too closely. In fact, it wasn't even 100% done at that time. Ha. But here ya go....

Bet you can't guess who it's for. Hahaha.

Well, just for being so patient, here are some more tulips for you. We're having such gorgeous warm weather (which is due to end with rain tomorrow, but we need that, too), that they've all popped out at once!

Annabelle wasn't quite so patient with me, though. She heard me outside the window and was trying soooo hard to join me.

Silly girl!

Hope with me that the above project FITS! Then you'll get to see it modeled, hopefully early next week. Time for me to start the next one.....