25 February 2011

Home Photo Studio (or Lack Thereof)

I take a lot of photos. I make a lot of stuff, and I also sell a lot of stuff that I didn't make, and I have a one year old, so that adds up to lots of photos.

What I really need is a dedicated space in my craft studio (preferably near a large window) to set up a professional-grade lightbox with some professional-grade lamps and lightbulbs, a tripod, and a copy of Photoshop. I have none of these things. So we make do.

Sometimes I take photos inside. I move all the stuff away from my craft room windowsill. It has to be sunny, but at certain times of day it just casts funky shadows and doesn't work. And the things I take photos of here have to be small.

[My windowsill, with a film reel can on it]

[The finished product]

Sometimes I take photos outside. This is mostly for fabric things. It has to be sunny (preferably just before sunset -- "golden hour" -- which never happens because that's when I'm making dinner), and not at all windy. In Oklahoma. Hahahaha.

[The green does make a nice backdrop... if you can catch that 3 weeks every year.]

And sometimes I set up a clothesline in my bedroom to beat the wind. My bedroom gets a lovely amount of sun all day. It works well for larger things like fabric.

[And this is why Picasa has a crop function.]


I have a lightbox that I built out of an old liquor box, but I'm not at all happy with the lighting I have for it. Apparently I need halogen bulbs? But I never remember to buy them. But that's okay! I really like the look of my windowsill photos.

[Like this one!]

22 February 2011

Homemade Fast Food

Saturday was Homemade Fast Food night at our house. This was the first one, but it will certainly not be the last. (Maybe it needs a better name? Suggestions?) There are two reasons that people eat fast food, don't you agree? 1.) You want cheap food that you don't have to cook, or 2.) You like the taste of the fast food. Some days we want #1. And those are the days we usually go to Chipotle. You see, as terribly unfair as it is, it turns out that the healthier your diet, the worse you tolerate not-so-healthy food. Thus, the list of fast food places we (okay, mostly I) can eat at is getting smaller and smaller. It is so sad. Because sometimes we want #2. Like fried cheese sticks from Sonic. Or chicken nuggets from Chick-Fil-A.

And that's where the internet comes in! My friend has this fabulous chicken nugget recipe that tastes amazingly like Chick-Fil-A (amazing partly because Chick-Fil-A uses MSG in their breading). And my other friend posted this Pioneer Woman recipe for fried mozzarella sticks. Who needs vegetables? Not me!

I took photos. They're not as pretty as Pioneer Woman's photos, but mine look like they come from a real person's house, so...

[Panko-y fingers. Ew.]

[Gotta freeze 'em first. Got to.]

[I used coconut oil to cook both foods. Healthy, tasty, and very filling.]

[Bubbling away]

[I only have one large skillet, so I baked the chicken. Turned out great!]

[I also had some leftover homemade tomato soup in my freezer -- instant marinara sauce!]

[Om nom nom nom nom]

So, to sum up: More work, less horrible crampy bloating/food coma. Win!

15 February 2011

A New Perspective on Valentine's Day

It's been about 10 or 12 years now that I've loathed and despised Valentine's Day. Yep, I'm one of those. I spent a long time (or what seemed like a long time to me) being single, and the day is pretty crappy if you're young and single. Once you get past elementary school with the boxes and the candy and the cards for everyone whether you like them or not, it's just not much fun without a boyfriend to dote on you.

Even after I started dating Norman, and then after we got married, I made it clear that I did not require anything special on February 14th. He could save his (okay, our) money.

And then sometime last week, the fun of elementary school Valentine's Day crept back into my head. Heart-shaped construction paper, doilies, stickers, paint, candy, heart-shaped foods! Fun times. And see, I've got this nearly-two-year-old. And I want her life to be fun. And I want to have traditions, things she can look forward to -- every day, every week, every month, every season, every year. So in a complete about-face, this year, I'm going all out for Valentine's Day. (Well, as all out as you can go and not spend any money.)

We made Valentines.

I cut her lunch meat and cheese into little heart shapes...

...and cut a tiny heart out of her apple.

I made heart waffles with red berry sauce.

And I even came down with Valentine Pox!
[Those are shiny heart stickers...]

And it was fun. I think Lucy had fun. I know she doesn't understand. She might expect heart-shaped crafts tomorrow, too, the way she expected the lighting of the Advent candles to last forever. But she'll catch on.

Happy Valentine's Day, Lucy! You make me a less grouchy person.

12 February 2011

Inside the Brain of a Toddler

What do these three things have in common?



[Nursing tank top]

Give up? Well, in the mind of a 21-month-old girl...

...they all look like the clasp on a nursing bra, which results in said toddler signing "milk!!" quite emphatically.

(Also I'm having too much fun with the macro setting on my camera.)