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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Oreo Eats a Salad

No, I did not make his eyes green with Photoshop.  LOL!  I think he must be full of salad.  He actually growls when he eats his salad.  He does not want Scamp to take it from him.  Scamp is a true carnivore but will take Oreo's food just so that Orea does not have something that he does not.  Yesterday, Oreo sat by me and ate fresh baby green beans.  Of course, this made Scamp jealous.  He won't touch a veggie though, so none for him, heh.  Oreo may present a problem in my raised bed salad garden this year......

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Time Flies...

Wow, time has really been flying by!  I can not believe that it is March already!

                                                  Even my coffee is in a hurry these days...

Have been browsing the internet trying to determine the best place to host my daily ramblings.  I have had some troubles customizing this one the way that I would like to.  Although, I have not discovered that perfect place just yet, I have gotten swept away with the Pinterest craze.

It started innocently enough...looking for some gardening info online.  I am impatiently waiting to transplant my fragile seedlings to my as of yet unfinished sub-irrigated raised bed.  Hopefully I will be able to complete that project this weekend.  It made from re-purposed wood.  AKA, the wind blew the fence down.   :)

This is what it looks like when mother nature rips down four of the fence panels in the back yard......

 Anyway........what's a girl to do when she can not move forward on her project???   Pinterest.

Seriously, if  you have not tried it, you have to google it and find out what all the fuss is about.  People find some interesting and fun stuff on the internet to share.  Good stuff.  Now, go get lost in the Pinterest maze, perhaps I will run into you there!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Emotionally Challenged Photography

Showing emotion in your photographs.

It is impossible to consistently guess what emotion your viewer will connect with when looking at a photograph or piece of art. In addition to that, your own mood at the time you are taking the photograph can be reflected in your work. Try to think about what emotion you are trying to convey with your photo.

While wide, sweeping horizons and impressive panoramic photos can be breathtakingly gorgeous, the real emotion usually lies in the fine details and personal space of the scene. Kids playing in a park and having fun is ok, but try to get more personal and get close enough to show their faces and their emotions. Keep the photo simple and try to avoid a lot of clutter so that the viewer can easily see the main subject of your photo. A wide angle shot of the destruction and mayhem on a street filled with scrambling frightened people while military troops pursue them is great at setting the stage. To grasp the full emotion of what is happening, tighter shots of the faces of the soldiers and/or people's faces will more clearly define the chaos of the scene.

Consider the angle that you are shooting the photograph from. Perspective can go a long way to conveying the emotion that you are going for. Getting down low and shooting up towards the subject gives the subject a more towering and powerful feel, while doing the opposite and shooting down towards your subject tends to minimimize it. Getting yourself level with the subject, especially when photographing kids, prevents you from consistently have shots that seem to tower over the subject. Take a moment to consider your angles and perspective when your are taking the photo.

If it is practical, try taking part in the action for awhile. Get to know the subject or activity a bit better and you will have a better understanding of what you are trying to convey in your photo.

Don't forget about post processing. You can change up the lighting and add contrast and saturation to your photos. You can also take time to crop the photo for best effect.

You may be surprised, but setting your camera to black and white (or even just your view finder if that is possible on your camera) and taking photos like that for awhile. When you should in black and white, the scene is not all cluttered with colors and your eye can concentrate on the contrast, composition, and subject.

One piece of advice that I read years ago was given by a teacher to his students. He actually assigned to them to find a place to take a picture and then to photograph that exact same place at like 4 different times throughout the day. The lighting changes constantly and can affect the mood of the scene in your photo.

Here are some inspirational photo links for you to browse that set the mood and/or show emotion:

And I just HAD to share this one, definitely see the emotion here. Feel sorry for him but it is just so darn cute!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

January 26, 2012

Ok, ready for the snow to melt and the sun to shine!!!!!!!!! 
I love being in the garden, what little there is of it due to space constraints. 
 I particularly enjoy using Earth 'Tainers for my gardening needs.  
Another neat way to garden is winter sowing your seeds.  The lady who has this site, WinterSown ,
has some really great ideas.  I got one of my all time favorite tomato seeds from her on a seed exchange as well.  It is an unknown pink tomato that will rock your tomato world. 
I am waiting for some Alpine Strawberry seeds to arrive.  In the meantime, I am dreaming up creative and useful ways to plant them once they sprout.  Yes, I am pretending that I have every confidence that I will achieve successful germination.   :)  The power of positive thinking.   Don't you think that a living strawberry wall in the dining room and on the patio would be divine????  Well, I do.  And that is all that matters in my living space, lol.  Now, how to pull it off......

While time passes and the snow sssslllllooooooooooooooowwwwwwly melts, just know......

We're in this together.....

Saturday, February 25, 2012

February 25, 2012

Life is not pristine.  Things get a bit wrinkled and bent and dusty and scratched.  Halos get tarnished.  Morals get cracked. I have a great life, but it is definitely part of the dented and scratched shelf of goods.

This is how art is.  And photography is an art.  Unless you are shooting photojournalistic types of things for news publishers, you are pretty much free to interpret your photos with wild abandon. That is where I come in.  I am not a genius sci fi creator with wild creativity.  I do like mess with things though.

I have found that mostly people just do not get it though.  They see the clean original shot and say that is what they like.  Maybe because it is easier to interpret? Sometimes it is nice to look at a vivid beach scene and think, " I would really like to be there right now instead of sitting at my dreary desk in this drearier office. "  Not that anyone would be surfing the web at work.  :)   Sometimes it is also nice to try to imagine what a place is like.  What happened there? What will happen there? What was the artist thinking?

Generally, the artist was thinking.....I want them to answer that question.  I want them to imagine a story in their head.  I want this piece to get their minds flowing and let it be whatever they imagine it to be.  It's fun to be a kid.  Kids know the difference between reality and fantasy.  They just enjoy the fantasy much more because they reject societies reality and insert their own.  They spit in the general direction of societies rules.

For me, it is an exercise in personal creativity.

For today's easy one because I am feeling nice.

Friday, February 24, 2012

February 24, 2012

Food photography.  Sometimes a gal just gets hungry.  This is called a Gorilla Sandwich copy cat kind of recipe.  It is basically a cored cucumber with your favorite fillings.  This one happens to have a mix of avocado, grape tomatoes,sea salt, pepper, balsamic infused Hawaiian sea salt, onions, garlic, and cilantro.  For the shot, I sprinkled some red sea salt, and black lava salt in front as well.  Good stuff. And nice to have a grab and go sandwich/salad that requires no silverware!  No special lighting.  Just the under cabinet flourescent and head light on my camera.  Of course, I covered it with a solo cup.   :)  It is setting on a plain granite counter.  That is the entire set up in a nutshell.  Nothing fancy here. The reflection was not added in post processing, it is the actual reflection off of the granite.

For those of you who do not think your camera is professional enough to take these shots....I do not use a high megapixel Nikon or a Canon.  This is a simple Olympus E520 and a kit lens.  Hand held.

See?  Not a pic from the Botanical Garden.  Wait til you see the one with my cat eating his salad....

Thursday, February 23, 2012

February 23, 2012

Some people that know me know that I am fascinated by old toy cameras.  I do not yet have any, nor do I have a darkroom to play in.  That will have to wait until we are settled in one place permanently.  We currently rent a home and will not be in a place of our own until our house in Missouri is sold.

In the meantime, I have been reading, learning, and fiddling a bit and attempted my first "lomo-izing" of one of my pics from the Denver Botanical Gardens.  (Yes, I do have pics other than from there.  These are just so easy to snag because they are on my hard drive instead of on my external drive.)

This is an attempt at a combination of toy camera and cross processing.  Some photographers would take pics on film for a camera or slides and have it processed in chemicals meant for developing a different type of film.  That is cross processing.  Still, others will take perfectly good film and destroy it prior to putting in their camera.  They dip it into various chemicals and/or liquids, scratch it, all sorts of creative destructions.  When they shoot they will sometimes load it to intentionally get crazy double exposures.  I even read a photo blog where a photographer shot the roll of film, took it out, and then put it back in either upside down or backwards.  It is all about the surprise of the results.  Not having complete control of the creative process.

Yes, that sort of lunacy absolutely fascinates me.  I can not wait to join the ranks of the photographically deranged.

Here is my toy camera, cross processed before and after for you viewing contemplation.



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February 22, 2012

Well, I am getting impatient for spring to arrive.  Or at least for the snow to melt.  These pics were taken in January and there is more snow now than there was then!!! 

Actually, I really enjoyed this particular day and hope that we soon get a season pass for the family to the Denver Botanical Gardens.  It is gorgeous there and it wasn't even in bloom when I went!

I have some of my garden seeds started and growing.  Mostly herbs, heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, and kale.  It is a start though.  I have Alpine strawberry seeds arriving on Tuesday!! Woohoo! They are the Mignonette variety.  Hopefully I will sort out how to get them started and all will work out wonderfully. I am debating creating a living strawberry wall in the dining room.  Wouldn't that be something to see???

Sunday, February 19, 2012

February 19, 2012 NOT posting everyday!!

LOL. Do not seem to have enough to post about to do this every day.  My life is just not that interesting!

Have spent the last week sick, sick, sick.  BLAHHHH!!!!!

Today, as I am mo betta than yesterday, I have been playing with some of my old images.  But that is about as interesting as it gets.  Here is a total destruction of one of my botanical garden images .....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January 18, 2012 Son's Recommendations and some middle east culture

DH brought home some pics from work for me to work on.  Not just like "please, improve these, hon." More like, make this person disappear and put them in this picture and then remove this person and move the rest together.  On about eight pics.  And then make the backgrounds transparent on those and about fifteen more.  Sigh.  Fortunately, I enjoy a challenge.   While I can do it, precise selections are not my strong suit yet.  Remember, I am NEW at this.

Have spent some time reorganizing the blog so that it remains easy to navigate to the items that I want quickly. Not quite done yet but not much left to do.

My son called from college yesterday to tell me to watch  "Forks Over Knives".  Brilliant!  It was on my list of things to do anyway, so I went ahead and watched it. Wonder how he came to watch it???? Then, for good measure, I went ahead and watched "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead".  Another good one.  We have Netflix and these are both available to watch instantly.  DH came home in the middle of watching Joe help Phil get started with his juicing and says he will do ten days with me!  Ok, he was manipulated.  It is in exchange for the photo retouching I am doing for him.  Did I mentioned that I do not get paid well for my hobby/addiction?  LOL   I tried for sixty days, but he said "Joe said to start with a week or ten days, I heard Joe. That is what Joe said."  So, ten it is.

Watch for the before and after shots in the days ahead.

Then Son called back to say that Jimmy was gone and Malik and Walid (his new roomies from Saudi Arabia) had prepared a traditional Saudi Meal for him and he really liked it.  He told us to give him a head's up and next time we come he will ask if they will do a meal for us.  He was unsure at first when they moved in.  I told him to take advantage as it is a great opportunity to learn something.  He can learn about their culture, their country, and a little bit of Arabic.  Sounded fantastic to me.  I met them briefly and they seem extremely nice.

Ok, back to my responsibilities, learning, and day one of ten of a juicing fast with dh. This will be great for both of us.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

JANUARY 15, 2012

January 15, 2012

Well now, another week!  Have been messing around with the blog and rearranging things.  I have a few more things to do, but by the end of this week I hope it will all be organized neatly. 

I have begun working on the portrait retouching more.  I really enjoy doing that.  Each portrait is a completely new challenge using the same techniques.  I believe I could actually do that for a living.  I really, really, enjoy it. Of course, I am currently no good at it, but someday, maybe.

Also, I have benefited so much from others posting freebies on their sites for photoshop, etc, I have decided that I am going to try to do the same for others.  Of course, I will suck at it at first, but eventually, I will figure it out.  :)

So far, I have three books that I am working my way thru.  There are 4 more I simply MUST have soon.  Oh, there are about 30 more that I must have, but 4 are soon.


Pics moved to One A Day Page

Updating/Organizing site.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Quickie Scrap Page

JANUARY 8, 2012

Week 2 and still going.  :)  Have been a bit cramped for time and a big bit stressed.  Hopefully, going forward, there will be fewer distractions.  I am trying to figure out how to follow my path to the career that I wanted before I allowed myself to get sidetracked by a career that was more or less not compatible with my true wants.  Sometimes you just gotta take the plunge, tighten the budget, and just do it.  Sometimes you just gotta get a little bit uncomfortable in order to move forward.  Ready to get uncomfortable with me?  Let's go~!

January 9, 2012
Irreconcilable differences.
But.......I'M FREE!!!!!

January 10, 2012
Japanese tea gardens and Asian bell houses.
Went to Denver Botanical Gardens today.  1) to play with my camera and work on improving shooting and post processing skills  2) brain refresher and relaxing

In all honesty, it was not my idea.  I was kidnapped.  I guess the person thought I would be highly stressed and need something to relieve my nerves after the events of the past months and yesterday.  It was great though.  Just what I needed and served multiple purposes.  Gotta love the efficiency of the multi task event. Although, my eyes are itchy and watery  from all of the pollen.  

January 11. 2012
Another fantastic day.   I am  not grumpy or irritable even the remotest bit today. Wonder why?  ;)
Ok, time to give the bootstraps a tug and get going!

January 12, 2012
  Practice, practice, practice.  In a year or two I should know what I am doing!  :)
I really like the Scott Kelby book I picked up the other day.  Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It.  
I have to get some lighting ordered and some lens filters so I can light it and shoot it, but the retouching part is fantastic!  Brilliant.  Subtle but effective photo manipulation.  
 I also have PS CS5  Digital  Classroom, and Adobe Photoshop for Photographers.
There are a few more books I need to order, but with a bit of perseverance and trial and error, I believe I can accomplish this.  Wish I could afford some brighter lenses, but , alas, it is not to be.  I will just have to work around it. 

I currently use (somewhat efficiently) PSE 7, PSP 2X, and PS CS5.5 Design Premium.  These are my primary pieces of software that I use for post processing.  I use my camera's development software in conjunction with Bridge. I like both. 

I shoot with an Olympus E520 and basic lenses.   No pro items or lighting.  Strictly ghetto.  LOL

January 13. 2012

A day of errands with husband.  Can you believe I forgot to take my camera with me?!! Tsk, tsk.  Not off to a good start.  Will have to remember to reprimand myself later.  I have a chair across from my desk just for that purpose.  lol  "Diana, could I please see you in my office?"  (inside joke)

Anyway, so much to learn!  Was playing around with textures today, and frankly....I suck.  There is no way to sugar coat it.  Education is desperately needed.  I have my eye on some more books.  I need to choose carefully though.  I hate when I get a book and it is full of fluff!! I also am not wild that I am currently using about 3% of my software's capabilities.  I really can not wait to master this stuff. Not like the totally amazing pros, but at least as an above average amateur.  Diana - Rising/Aspiring Amateur.  LOL. 

I like my Olympus E520, but am sort of itching for an upgrade.  Move to an e3 or e5?  Or add a Canon dslr to my collection?  I have a Canon EOS Elan from 1992 that is awesome, but I do love the features of the digital cameras.  But buy two complete lines of lenses?  Hmmmmm......
  time will tell.  No hurry.  Things change so rapidly and I am sure I will have time to think it over for a year or two.  Have you seen the Eye Fi cards?  Sort of cool in a way.  Not sure they can transfer raw images though, which is what I nearly always shoot. Like I said, rapid changes.  Can not wait to see what I end up with!  I am reasonably certain I can rule out a Leica or Hasselblad. LOL

First, I need to give some consideration to some lighting so that I can expand my knowledge in that area.  Hopefully, in a few weeks I will have a solution for that.  I like the idea of speed lights, but also like the economics of continuous lighting.  Plus, I can probably design my own continuous lighting.  Strobe lights are nice, but $$$$, and not as easily portable as speedlights.  Ahhhh, far to many choices. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012



Quick Frame

New Year's Day and a Fruit Ninja, too!


Our New Year's celebration was delayed by a day because when we got home from Tim and Shelly's at around 10:30 pm, our oldest son was already asleep!

Therefore, we did our tapas and kinect today.  And tomorrow is when the futile attempts at the new resolutions begin. 

I have a list of 10 this year.  Yep, the classic over achiever.  Except for that whole constant failure

Maybe I just need something like “The Idiot's Guides to Setting Manageable Goals”. I have a vague idea as to what to do. Follow thru though is quite another thing. Goals at work? Goals for anything else? Totally there for you. This goal that last an entire year!!!!???? Not so much. Especially if it is not a particularly fun goal.

So, here they are.....applying the KISS method of goal setting:

  1. Blog weekly
  2. one digital scrapbook layout per week
  3. one photo per day, you know, that whole 365 project thing
  4. one chapter from my digital learning library per week
  5. fire up the Champion Juicer and do 90 days of juicing & fresh fruits and veggies
  6. go golfing once per week (do not judge – I have not golfed in YEARS, and I love golfing)
  7. learn two awesome youtube videos per month
  8. take a photography tour
  9. play kinect at least 3 times per week with the kids -- BE the Fruit Ninja,...bwahahahahaha!
  10. drink 2 liters of water every day

So, the whole Fruit Ninja thing...
We downloaded a new (to me) kinect game called Fruit Ninja.  You use your hands/arms as blades and as fruit and bombs fly across the screen, you try to slice the fruit without hitting any bombs.  Today's high score.....428 in arcade mode.  As Fruit Ninja's go, I suck.  As far as middle aged Fruit Ninja momma's....I guess I'll do.  heh.  Anyway, Fruit Ninja just happens to be appropriate for my current endeavor of juicing.  I think I will fruit ninja daily! One more way to move my way to big booty!

My first week is going to be one liter of juice daily along with fresh, whole fruits and veggies.  If that seems to be working for me, then I will maintain that.  If I need to, then I will add two liters of juice along with the veggies. With banana whips sprinkled in  here and there, of course.  :)

I had to move my blog because my freewebs blog was waaaaaay to unreliable.  I have not been able to access it more than twice this past week. And there has been a history of that.  I like the format, but it is useless if not accessible.

Anyway, here are a few non processed food subsititutes that are quite good if you want to add some fresh goodness to your menu:

Tigger's Raw Ketchup (yep, that's me!)

3.5 oz package of sundried tomatoes
2 - 3 cups filtered water
1 tablespoon sea salt
6 dates , smallish
agave, 3 tablespoons
honey 3 tablespoons
acv or white vinegar, 1/4 cup
dry mustard, 1 pinch
1 tsp onion
1 tsp chili powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper or couple shakes of tobasco

Put the sundried tomatoes in the blender and add enough water to cover.
Whiz until smooth. Add pitted, soft dates and whiz smooth again, adding water as necessary to keep the sauce moving smoothly. Add the agave, honey, mustard, and cayenne or tobasco. Whiz smooth while adding enough water to keep the sauce flowing. Now add the vinegar a little at a time until it tastes the way that you like. If you like it zestier, add more vinegar. Just adjust to your own liking.

Ketchup is the base (or tomato sauce) for many condiments.

Cocktail Sauce

1 cup of ketchup
1 - 2 tablespoons horseradish (to taste)

Mix well and serve.

Barbeque Sauce

1 cup ketchup
4-8 dates (to taste)
sea salt - 1 tsp or to taste
3 tablespoons chopped onion
agave - 2 to 3 tablespoons (to taste)
honey - 2 tablespoons ( to taste)
fresh ground pepper, a couple of shakes
nam shoyu - 1/2 capful (or worcestershire)
hickory smoke (liquid or salt to taste - sesame oil could be tried as well - optional)
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped onion
garlic or garlic powder to taste (optional)
pinch of mustard powder
May add water to desired consistency.

Whiz together all BUT NOT the onion. Get it the consistency you like and then stir in the onions.


Mango Mix Up
(sweet salad dressing - mango tasting french - without all the oil)

1/2 mango
1 cup ketchup
1 - 2 tablespoons EVOO ( opt)
2-3 tablespoons agave
2-3 tablespoons honey
2-6 dates , according to your own taste
1 - 2 tablespoons chopped onion
pinch of mustard powder
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon ACV or white vinegar
May try adding more honey or dates if you like it sweeter.

Whiz all together until smooth. Add water if you want to, I like mine thicker.

And last, but not least.....CRISPS!!!!!

Ok, so I wanted to make the krazy kale chips that everyone has been raving about for like YEARS! Not one place in town has kale!!!! Hy-vee, Piggly Wiggly, WallyWorld. Not one. Sigh. BUT.....Tiggers have a lot of imagination, you I got cabbage, purple cabbage, and chinese cabbage. And guess what? They all work well! Not nearly as sturdy as kale, but good enough. If you have uncontrollable cravings for chips like someone I know and love (hee), you should definitely give these a try. I really needed something with a salty crunch. And these do that! (Just make sure you make them on a screen or parchment, cuz, well.....they become a part of your pan otherwise. Heh. And flip them once in a while, that seems to help a lot.

The thing is, whatever flavor you use, that flavor becomes VERY intense once the crisps are crunchy. So just keep that in mind if you are planning to make garlicky ones or anything like that.

Here is a quick suggestion for a recipe to get you started....really the sky is the limit here. So many flavor options are available to you here. Just use your imagination.

I have also seen versions of this blended to a paste and then spread to make chips/crackers. Seems like that would be divine.


In a bowl,....
3 tablespoons shoyu
3 tablespoons Bragg's
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 to 2 tablespoons agave or honey
(And now I think I would even add about 2 to 3 tablespoons water to decrease the flavor. Was very intense.)

Dip or marinate. Both work great.
Place in dehydrator until crispy. Munch, munch, munch!

Salad Krumbles

Salad krumbles are crisps with a different shape.
Get a bag of shredded cabbage and chop it up a bit more. Make bits or shreds, both are ok.
Toss the cabbage with your flavor sauce and put in dehydrator.

After the bits are dried, use them like you would bacon bits on your salads, etc.

These crisps have given me some interesting ideas. I am going to be in the kitchen this weekend. LOL!

I would be doing an injustice if I did not mention the infamous chocolate pudding.
Alissa's recipe is insanely good. She uses soaked dates as her sweetener. Very tasty. However, some find that without a high powered blender it can be difficult to achieve the level of creaminess they desire. You can achieve this by adding a bit more water or almond milk or by skipping the dates altogether.

My version of chocolate pudding is easy and although not as sweet, easy for even the most basic blender.

First - your avocados need to be really soft in order for the pudding recipe to work properly.


2 avocados
1/4 cup cocoa powder
pinch sea salt
1/2 cup agave (or to taste)
water or almond milk, to desired consistency, a cup ful maybe? Add until it is what you like

Put the avos, cocoa, salt and agave in the blender. Add about half the water. Blend until smooth, adding water/milk as desired. Eat!

That's all for today!  Have a fabulous new year!