Monday, February 21, 2011

How To's Day

The problem:  I needed something (anything!) to hang above the bed in my freshly painted master bedroom.
The challenge:  Come up with something different and inexpensive.
The inspiration:  Thanks to my 365 photo project, tons of unused landscape photos on my hard drive.

I wanted to use a found object of some sort, so I made a trip to my parent's storage building. You can find similar pieces at junk stores, antique markets, yard sales, flea markets or maybe your parent's house!  Be on the look-out for any piece that catches your attention.  This is a method, not a recipe, as the saying goes!(Bonus points if you get it for free or find it in the trash!)
 I found this old wood door.  I liked the lines and it had character.  I also liked that it had four panels.  Did I mention it was free from my parent's house?  Just checking...
The four panels reminded me of the four seasons.  Could I come up with four photos that represented each season?  My wheels were turning!
Back at home I made a quick scroll through my photo organizer.    I came up with about twenty photos that I liked.  However, I must have something against Spring, because there were no photos to represent that lovely season. I ran the Pioneer Woman's black and white action on the seasons that were represented. This way they would look similar in the project. 

Something you must know about me:  I am an obsessive-compulsive, perfectionist who has no patience.  I know, I am a walking oxymoron.  It completely ruins lots of projects.  Waiting on photos to arrive really stretched my limits. 

The first thing I did to the door was give him a quick shop-vac. (Not sure why, but the door is male.)  Don't scrub too hard or you knock off the character!  I just didn't want spider webs hanging above my head.  (That's what corners are for at my house.)  I made a call to my local hardware store and had them cut four pieces of plexi-glass five by seven inches. 
A trip to my guy's workbench turned up eight rusty nails that would look perfect to hold the plexi-glass in place.  (Note to self:  might want to update tetanus shot.)

For my project, I tapped a nail in the bottom and top of each section of the door, right at the place where the plexi-glass edge would be.

See how the plexi-glass slides under the edge of the nail head?  That's what will hold your picture and your covering in place.  So make sure you leave the nail partially out of the wood.  Here's what it looks like with all four pieces in place:

Next was a way to hang the door.  It wasn't too heavy, but I didn't want to run the risk of it falling off the wall onto my head anytime soon.  Remember how I told you about my oxymoronic self?  Well, I refuse to hang anything that requires two nails.  The whole level, straight line thing just baffles me.  I opted instead for two screw eyes on either end and a picture wire stretched between them.  Yes!  One nail!  Instantly straight!

See?  Just twist it in and you are good to go...

Stretch the wire tight and wrap it around itself.  Lift up your piece by the wire to make sure it holds correctly.

(Insert long wait because of snow storm that made my pictures which normally arrive in two days not arrive for six!  Ahhhhhhh!!!!!)

Slide your pictures under the plexi-glass and you have a great picture frame/piece of art! 

Here's mine in it's new home.  Note the missing season of Spring?  I promise as soon as some buttercups or tulips bloom I am going to replace it.

Speaking of which, that's one of the great things about a found piece of art that you create with your own photos.  As you want, you can change out the pictures to reflect the season, your mood or your improved photography skills.
Here are two other found objects that I have used to display photos

An old window...
A piece of iron gate that I've had forever.

 I framed our family's Christmas cards from the last few years and hung them by some string from each of the points. (Don't tell my mom, but I just took this down today...yikes!)

   My next project is a spring mantle, inspired by The Lettered Cottage.  I'll keep you posted!

How do you use your photos?  I hope everyone will share some ideas.  I plan on making a blog book at the end of the year, but why wait?  It's a challenge to get those photos off your computer and into use in your home.  Immediately!
Blessings Friends,

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Monday - Tuesday - Wednesday

Thank you, Tracy.  I needed that.

Here's a couple of quick catch-ups and a more lengthy one:
Day Forty-Five
This is a project I have been working on to hang above the bed in our master bedroom. I found with the 365 project I am ending up with a lot of still life photos that I want to use.  This was a reclaimed wood door that I made into a frame. I plan to do a whole post on how I did it in hopes of getting reposted on

Day Forty-Six
 We are enjoying the sunshine here and so are our cats.

And finally, Day Forty-Seven
Today I received an AARP card in the mail.  And you know what, it made me happy.  Not because I am old enough to be an AARP member - I have several years to wait.  In fact, the small group of high school girls that I lead a Bible study for on Wednesday afternoons were shocked that I was (gasp!) 38!  Now that I think about that for a little while, I'm perplexed, frankly.  Do I not look 38?  Or do they think that 38 is really THAT OLD?  Hmmmm.... I may have to revisit that discussion.
No, the reason getting an AARP card in the mail made me smile was it means I am alive.  Earlier yesterday I received a phone call telling me that an acquaintance had died unexpectedly due to complications during back surgery.  Her son and mine have played sports together for years.  We have gone out to dinner together.  She has been in my home.  She brought Kate presents when she had surgery.  She was my age.  A young mother of three.  A wife.  A talented EMT and teacher.  It is the sort of tragedy that catches your breath.
So yes, AARP people, I am getting older.  And yes, several years from now I will be old enough to carry one of your cards.  And while I am not at that age now, I will treasure your letter because it means that I am alive and as my sweet Grandmother says about growing older, what's the alternative?
I, for one, will breathe today.  And enjoy life.  And try to remember to not get so bogged down in the details that I forget to be thankful for another day. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day Forty-Three

Week two of Portuguese class for Kate and her best friends ended with brunch at Noshville. 
How do you say "cream soda" in Portuguese?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Catch-Up Day

Bear with me as I catch up on posting this week's pictures:

Day Forty
Hello, we are the Officer family and we are Hershey's Syrup addicts.  Seriously, how many bottles does one family need?  Apparently at least six.

Day Forty-One
I actually got Sam to help me with some shots for my photography class.  I think he looks so handsome.  Kind of angry, but handsome none the less.

Day Forty-Two
The life of a dog.  Must be nice.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day Thirty-Nine

My Dad rode with me to Knoxville today to pick up my vehicle.  (It has been at the dealership for warranty-work for over a week.)
Dad needed to stop at Kroger to pick up some of his special coffee that you can't find anywhere.
On the way in the door, there was the most beautiful bucket of lovely pink and blue hydrangeas for sale.  He bought me (and Mom) a bouquet.  It has made my cold, snowy world quiet lovely.  Thanks, Dad!

A couple of photo notes:
The texture is from here - a freebie!  I have been wanting to have a pretty flower picture to try.
Today's lessons from the Workshop was about using the rule of thirds in your photos.  To that end, I am trying to be more intentional about slowing down and looking for the best point to focus.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day Thirty-Seven (I think?) Oops...Thirty-Eight

I knew it was inevitable that I would lose count of my days.  Numbers are not my thing, which could explain why God knit me together with a banker.  So, thank you, blog friends, for your kindness in not mentioning how terribly off my day-counting has been this past week.  Wow.  I confess I would not have even noticed had it not been for reading all of your well-counted blogs.  Oh well. 
The plans I had for today were changed.  I ended up with some free time that I did not expect.  Yipee for me!  I realized that when I am home by myself at lunchtime, I default to my Mom's habit of eating and reading at the counter.  Thanks, Mom, for the bad habit of eating and reading.  I must admit that after a stressful week it felt lovely to relax munching on fruit salsa with cinnamon chips while reading my first lesson in The Photographer's Workshop

On that note, I give you today's picture(s).  The lesson today was on composition and being intentional about how you compose a shot - looking for distractions, etc.  After I took my first lunchtime picture, I looked around at the space and realized how much clutter was in the background. 

A little straightening up and a change of angle...

Still not a perfect picture (it's a stool for goodness sake) but I can see the benefits of slowing down long enough to be intentional about the composition as opposed to just shooting away!

Saturday/Sunday Catch-Up Days 35/36

We hosted a Super Bowl party last night for our Sunday evening LIFe group.  Saturday and Sunday our family worked together to prepare the house and the food.   My family showed great kindness by participating in the preparations, even though they would have been perfectly happy with a semi-clean house and a bag of chips. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day Thirty-Four

Quick, what movie is this line from? "They're so friendly. Don't you think daisies are the friendliest flower?"

I must disagree.  I think tulips are the friendliest flower.  I love tulips.  If you want to do something kind for me, give me tulips. 
Kindness is showing someone they are valuable by how you treat them.

Day Thirty-Five

There are days that I am grateful for technology and days that I wish I could disconnect from the world.
Being in constant contact with anyone and everyone has positive and negative impacts in my life.
For instance, when my dad was having open-heart surgery and we spent days upon days at the hospital, all the texts, phone calls, and facebook messages helped curb the feeling of isolation.  (Positive)
When I am alone in my car, I tend to default to calling someone instead of cranking up my worship music and talking to God. (Negative)
When I am alone in my car, I can call my best sister-friend who lives eight hours away and catch up.  (Positive)
When my kids are ready to be picked up, they can instantly reach me.  (Negative - Just kidding... sort of)

But tonight, I was very grateful for technology for two reasons:
1.  Sam's Geometery teacher (also a best friend) text me to let me know that Sam made a 97 on his first major test in her class!  If you remember this post, you know that is such a victory for him!
2.  Sam found himself in an awkward social situation this evening.  He was able to text me for help getting out of it.  It was low-key, so he did not feel "un-cool" and I could be the "bad guy".

So while in some ways I envy a dear friend who has no cellular device, I suppose for now I will continue to use mine.  However, I do pray that I know when to turn it off and focus on more important things in my life.  I suppose that is true with all technology.  Wasn't it Paul who said that all things were permissible but not all things were profitable?  He goes on to say that he "will not be mastered by anything."  (1 Corinthians 6:12)  As much enjoyment as I get from photography, food, the computer, blogs, boards, etc.  I long to not be mastered by anything but God.  Praying the same for you this morning.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day Thirty-Two

(It suddenly becomes harder to count the days off the top of my head!)
Today was another of those proud-mom moments.  Sam is taking a Communications Technology class this semester.  One of their first activities is publishing the school paper this month.  Sam has been calling businesses all over town to get advertisers for the paper.  Today one of the local banks called him back on his cell phone.  He had the most mature, professional conversation with the caller.  His grammar was appropriate, he was polite, he provided sure answers, he took her name and number with a promise to call back tomorrow with the answers he didn't know.  I was so proud! 
Disclaimer:  Texting while driving in Tennessee is against the law.  I cannot imagine what taking photographs with my dslr would get me!