Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"What's It Gunna Be??" Cupcakes

Today I did a guest blog on my good friend Kristina's mosey on over to A Cozy Cup of Tea to check it out!  I did a tutorial on gender revealing cupcakes! Here's a little teaser pic to whet your appetite!!  I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

DIY Macro Lens

I'm sure it's redundant, and maybe one day, I'll have a fresh idea of my own to share, but I *HEART* Pinterest!!!  Today, I came across this AWESOME photog tip!

I'm completely in love with my 50mm lens.  It's super fast and takes the most lovely photographs.  I'm so glad it was the first {okay, and let's be honest, & only} lens I bought when I got my Cannon Rebel.  Despite my love for the 50 there are some things it obviously can't do, like {BIG duh} take any other length photos - which means I can't take macro photos with it.  Macro photography was always an interest of mine, so I was bummed when I couldn't do it.

Well not anymore!!

I came across this article from Alex Beadon Photography that showed you how to easily convert your 50mm lens into a macro lens.  It's so easy, it makes you feel stupid.  You take your 50mm lens off of your camera, flip it around so the front lens is now touching your camera body and take your shots!  The only downside to this method is that you must hold the lens up to your camera while you shoot.  I do know there are attachments that you can get for your camera bodies that will allow you to use your lens in reverse...I may have to look into it now!!  There is a learning curve with this method, so your first pics are still a little blurry, but I plan to practice!!  Here's what I had done just fooling around this afternoon with it: 

{Hey!  Whose CUTE kid is that?!  And he has the most FANTASTIC eyelashes!!}

I admit, this "before" picture isn't the best, but just go with it.

Well, if you're lucky enough to own a DSLR with a 50mm lens...try out this trick and snap away!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Great Expectations

Whew!  Life has been busy, busy, busy!  There are days when I'm not even home all day!  It's good thing my little boy is a great traveler!  I honestly think he gets his best sleep while I'm running errands.  I was running around Tarjay yesterday with this little face checking me out: 

I have to say, he was staring at me so intently, I was kind of freaking out a little.  He was so still, not blinking, not responding to me when I spoke to him and then - the droopy eyes!  I knew he was tired!!  Okay, enough about my little guy and on to today's topic.

I fancy myself a pretty good baker.  I love it, and I think I'm pretty good at it.  I know if I bake something, 90% of the time I know what I'm getting in the end.  Yesterday was no exception.  I found this bran muffin recipe that sounded pretty good.  One reviewer had even said it rivaled the Mimi's Cafe bran muffin!  Well if THAT'S the case I HAD to whip up a batch.  I made some modifications to the recipe (which is nothing new) and popped those babies in the oven.  I patiently waited my 20 minutes, smelling the loveliness emitting from my hot kitchen.  BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!!!  

Whoo-hooo they. are. done!  
(you can tell I'm excited, yes?)

I scoot on into the kitchen, plunge my hand into my Ove-Glove and yank open that oven door to find 

cat throw up.

Okay, so maybe not literally cat throw up.  But these muffins were NOT as pictured.  They didn't have the cute little muffin tops all golden brown and happy.  They, in fact, did not rise at all.  They looked like big clumps of dried cat throw up.

Where were my sweet honey bran muffins I waited to patiently for?  What went wrong?  I mean, it's a simple enough recipe.

Then, the thought came to my mind:

 That's life.

You have all the plans in the world - you've got your recipe to life...then - BAM - it's not what you expected.  You're sure you did everything right, and 90% of the time, you know what you're getting into, but when that other 10% hits, watch out!  So I suppose my bran muffins taught me this...Life may not always be pretty, but ultimately, it will still taste good!

For those of you who just HAVE to know what dried-cat-throw-up-bran-muffins look like, I still styled and took photos of the them...enjoy!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A New Obsession

Okay, so, yes, I will confess...I get obsessed over things!  The newest one being frames.  I've always flirted with frames, but I've graduated my taste a little bit.  It went from 4x6's at Target to monstrous, ornate beauties from the consignment and antique stores.  So, to feed my need for beautiful, fun, unique frames, I've decided to create a frame wall in my home.  I have a big blank wall above my couch in my living room that I've never quite known what to do with.  I was thinking of hanging some art there...but hello, how unoriginal (and not really me) AND I've never found any art that I've liked enough to plop down the big bucks for.  So, for four years, the wall has remained blank - which is quite a feat for me.

So, not long ago I found a frame and turned it into an earring holder.  You can read about that here if you are so inclined.  And not long after that I found another amazing frame, but wasn't feelin' another transformation into a earring holder.  That's when the frame wall idea came to me.  So here's the frame before:

Sorry about Calvin - he was curious and it was IMPOSSIBLE to keep him away.  Plus, he finds himself very handsome.

I painted it Heirloom White which is a new favorite color of mine.  It lends a certain class to things and yet keeps it vintage-y. :)  I took the mirror out and found some amazing fabric and covered the back board with it.  I covered the letter "G" (another obsession of mine) in some yarn and hung it in the center of the frame using twine and beads.  It turned out FANTASTIC if I do say so myself!  Well, I suppose you can be the judge for yourself!

The "G" is a really pretty coral color.  It looks a little orange here, but it's amazing!

I hung it with twine and beads.  In between each bead I tied three knots for added visual effect and texture.

A little shot of the very top for your enjoyment!

So it's official!  The frame wall has been started, and a it's a pretty good start I think!  Well, off to the antique mall to find some more lovelies!!!!  Have a great day!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Averbeck Family

Hi All!  
It's been a while since I've been behind my lens "professionally."  I can't even remember the last job I did. :/  Maybe the Thanksgiving wedding??  YIKES!!  That can't be right...
Being pregnant made it difficult to do the work of a proper photographer...I'm pretty active when I do a shoot; lying on my stomach, climbing a ladder, squatting...all positions that a growing belly isn't a fan of.  So once I started sticking out there, I put the photo jobs on hiatus.  There's a downside (or two, or three, okay maybe four) to doing that:

1) The jobs stop coming
2) The ideas stop flowing
3) The confidence starts lacking
4) The creativity back up in your mind is in-sane

Yesterday, my husband and I went out to ice cream at the Comfy Cow (aka - Louisville's BEST ice cream shop) with some friends and it turns out, after they were done hanging out with us, they were going to do some family photos.  My photog ears starting buzzing and my heart started fluttering.

"What's that you say??  You need photos done?!?!"

No, they didn't ask me - but I just couldn't help from injecting myself into the rest of their afternoon.  I mean really though, you can't get a proper family photo with a 1 year old using a can hardly do it with help!  So off to a secluded road and park with a creek we went.  We didn't do anything fancy, but it was so nice to use my talent once again.  

Here are a few personal favorites of the day

I hope you enjoyed these little tibits of my first day back on the job!!  It was a lot of fun and thanks Averbeck family for letting me tag along and do these for you!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Homemade Granola Bars

The middle of last month my son and I left the confines of our small apartment and headed for the Florida beach.  My husband was scheduled to come down later in the week - which left him with lots of extra time since there was no wife or 2 month old baby in the house.  I soon discovered what he did with his time.

He watched food documentaries.

Lots of them.

Needless to say, we are now slowly switching over to an organic diet.  We've decided to make our snacks when possible (which I did before but mostly on our cookie consumption) and to be more careful about what kind of snacks we consume.  Well, that got the baker in me thinking.  

I love granola and will spend a lot of money on it.  Since we're not millionaires, I figured I could probably make it myself.  I would know exactly what was in it (more importantly, what was not in it) and it would probably be better for me.  So I looked up my go-to baking blog My Baking Addiction and searched out "granola".  She had this good lookin' recipe up, so I decided to give it a whirl - with a few changes of my own.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit in things, so I traded the cherries for flaked coconut and also I mixed in some pecan pieces into the slivered almonds.

So in a large bowl mix:
2c rolled oats
3/4c packed brown sugar
1/2c wheat germ (FYI you can find this in the cereal isle)
3/4t ground cinnamon (I also added 1/4t each of ground ginger, nutmeg, and cloves)
1c all purpose flour
3/4t salt

After mixing the ingredients above, make a well in the center of your bowl and add:
1/2c honey
1 egg
1/2c coconut oil
The original recipe called for vegetable oil, but I decided to use coconut oil instead for the added benefits.  You can actually see the oil in the photo above - it's the white ring around the egg yolk.  Coconut oil is a solid when cooled below 77 degrees and a liquid above obviously, it's cooling down in this photo and becoming a solid.
2t vanilla extract

Mix all that loveliness together and when it's well combined mix in:
3/4c flaked coconut (sweet or unsweetened is your preference.  I used sweetened)
3/4c dark chocolate chips
3/4c slivered almond and pecan pieces

Flatten mixture in a 9x13 baking pan lined with parchment and bake for about 30 -35 minutes at 350 degrees.  I added a little honey drizzle on top with a sprinkle of the coconut, chocolate chips, and nuts.  When it's all done, it should be golden brown around the edges.  Let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for about a half and hour and then cut them up.  My Baking Addiction gives the tip to make sure and not let them cool all the way or they will crumble when cut.  Here's a photo or two of my lovelies (oh, and don't make my mistake of cooking them too long...not as pretty to look at, but the still tasty delicious!)

I hope you enjoyed my little step-by-step on making your own granola bars!  It was super easy and tasty too, plus, you don't get all the preservatives and added fat that the store bought bars have!  Thanks for stopping by!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm Soooo Excited!!!

Why, you ask??  Well, this little baby came in the mail today!!!

The minute I hit "Confirm Purchase" on Amazon, I was stoked!  I didn't realize how badly I wanted a sewing machine until that moment.  Needless to say, you will be seeing a post or two about the AMAZING things I'm going to make with my new little friend.

Okay, onto the real subject for today!

I recently joined the sharing site Pinterest and it has quickly become my new obssession (see point #18 under 20 Random Things About Me).  The problem with Pinterest (if there is one), is that you see all these amazing things but no way to actually implement them.  Well, "No more!" I say, I'm going to make one of these fabulous items!  So I did.

I'm a lover of earrings.  My motto, "The bigger, the better."  I will almost always buy a pair (or two) at Forever 21 and have to try really hard not to go crazy.  Needless to say, I have some storage issues when it comes to my ear's best friends.  I saw this lovely, lovely, lovely, earring holder on Pinterest

and thought, "Hmmmm, I could make that."

So I went out to my local consignment shop on the hunt for a huge, ornate mirror frame.  It was quite a hunt, but I found one!  So I picked up this baby for $18!!  Pretty good if you ask me!!!

My husband's reaction was not so enthusiastic.  "You want THAT?!"  Yes, yes, it's hideous gold color would (and should) turn anyone away and it's a far cry from the lovely Pinterest example.  But just LOOK at that arcitecture!  And the SIZE...oh my! (Notice the ruler in the center for judgement)  It was perfect!  So in the cart it goes and off to my home for some TLC.

So after a trip to Joann's, a coat or two of Heirloom White spray paint, a few dabs of hot glue and here it is!

Yup, that's the same one!  The Pinterest inspiration sells for $80 on Esty and I made mine for well under $30!  And just because I am SO proud of are two more detail shots:

So, don't be afraid to find something ugly and make it beautiful!  It can be done!!