Friday, January 31, 2014

Catch the Moment 365 - Days 22 through 28

So I might be just about over half and half on meeting my Catch the Moment 365 goals for the month of January.  If you don't remember my original post, I'll refresh my goals here:

- Try to take one photo per day.
- Try to use a real camera to do so.
- Link up those photos once per week.
- Expand the use of my camera {I'd like to be shooting in manual by the end of the year}
- Take at least one photo per week {or have DH take the photo} with me in it.
- Take at least one photo per month of our whole family.
- At some point during the year, purchase a remote control for the camera to make taking the above photos easier. 

I've been doing really well on the first few of those goals, maybe not so much on the last few.  I've taken quite a few more photos than one per day, using only my DSLR - even though it wasn't my original intent to switch over completely.  I've also been linking up once per week.  I also did attempt to get a family photo taken of us at the birthday party, so we hit our once a month whole family photo.

I'm pretty sure I completely failboated on taking a photo of myself with the kids or family once a week.  I think that I maybe made the blog once this series so far.  I'm guessing, though - that problem won't be solved until I hit the last point of purchasing a remote, because I'm not omni-present, I'm not that great with a timer and a tripod {and really, who feels safe using a tripod with a two and one year old running around}, and it's kind of tough to take selfies with a DSLR.  I also have taken most of my photos on auto - and most with a, gulp, flash.  This month, I've really been focusing on getting my perspective right and adjusting the angle at which I'm taking the photos.  Hopefully - that's improving a bit!

Either way, here are this week's photos!

22/365: Little Lady is finally starting to grow a good crop of hair to the point where it's starting to turn into a longer neck covering - ahem, mullet.  Lol.

23/365: Our make-shift gross motor activity in this crazy cold weather.  Little Man ran around on his "road" seriously all day.

24/365: Little Lady goes to this spot every.single.time we're in the living room.  She actually does love to sit down and read the books, but I'm pretty positive her favorite thing is to pull every single book down off the shelf.  Over, and over, and over again.

25/365: Little Man's excitement over DH bringing some work home.  He seriously thinks his dad has the coolest job on the planet.  I think he keeps trying to get me to top it by saying I work on helicopters.  No dice, kiddo.

26/365: When this little miss plays with a sensory bin, she really gets into it.  No rest for the vacuum cleaner in this house!  Also, I love how Little Man's hands are very tentatively clutching his measuring spoon as he watches Little Lady dig in.

27/365: Oh, who - me?  You know, just lounging in your clean laundry.

28/365: Re-using some party decorations in another sensory bin!  This one was a bit less messy than the oatmeal and therefore much preferred by Little Man.  I may be stretching it here, but I can still see juuuuuuust a teensy bit of baby-toddler hand in this photo.

Nurse Loves Farmer

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tips & Tricks 47 - Get a great photo with your iPhone camera!

In my quest to take a photo each day this entire year, I've not only been learning about my DSLR, but also about my iPhone camera - which leads me to my next tip.

No matter how amazing of a photographer you are, there are those times where it just isn't realistic to drag around a DSLR.  I'm constantly taking both kids out by myself, and with one baby on my back and one baby walking next to me holding my hands, I don't have even one hand to be holding onto my DSLR - much less two to actually use it.

So what do I do?

The only thing I can do at that point - revert to my iPhone.

But the innate problem with iPhone cameras is clear - the quality is often bad.  Now, the 8 Megapixel ability of my iPhone 5 is definitely better than the old point and shoot I have sitting around - but it isn't anywhere near the ability of today's point and shoots.  I often find though that when shooting photos with my iPhone camera, that they end up blurry, grainy, and just in general poor in quality - and I often miss the photo I was hoping to catch.

Until I learned this tip.

If I'm taking photos with my iPhone and striking out, I instead switch to video.  I take a video for a minute or so - hopefully catching those moments in between all of my kids' movement - and then turn the camera off.  Later on, I'll go back to that same video and edit out some photos.  To do so, I follow these steps:

- Open the video through your photos app on your iPhone.

- When you have the video open, use your finger to scroll the little white bar at the top through the video.  

I know, I need to charge my battery :)
- As the video scrolls through, you'll be able to stop scrolling when the screen lands on a still picture in the video you like and want to capture.  When you find a still you like, tap the screen once in the middle to get the top and  bottom bars to disappear.  

- Once all you see on your screen is the photo you'd like, simultaneously press both the round home button and the top right power/on-off button at the same time.  The screen should white out for just a moment.

- If you then go back to your phone's photo album, your new photo will be in your album.  

- You can edit on the iPhone or send it to your computer to edit on better software there.

Using this technique, I've been able to catch quite a few photos that I otherwise was too slow to catch with the regular iPhone camera.  If you're in a bind without access to a camera and can't get a shot of your mobile child - try this method!

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How to Plan Outfits for Your Family Photos!

Over the past few years, we've had our photos taken by my favorite local, professional photographer.  Each time we've had our photos taken, I've planned out our the whole family's outfits.  It takes a little time and some finagling, but putting together outfits for family pictures doesn't have to be a hard task!

When you're putting together your outfits, here are a few things I take into consideration:

Before you even begin to plan your outfits - determine the number of people or family members in your shoot.  I find that if you're taking family photos with two, three, or four people, having two main and distinct colors tends to be enough variability without being too distracting.  When you put every family member in a white top and khaki pants, you tend to lose each individual in the photo.  But when you diversify your color palette just a twidge by making two colors your goal, you can often highlight each individual while still looking like a cohesive whole.

Of note, when you are planning your colors, I find that having at least one color that isn't a neutral helps to make your photos stand out just a bit more.  If you look at the photo above, we used navy as our main base color with coral as our main accent/pop color.  Pairing the neutral with a pop color gives you a better balance than pairing two accent or two neutral colors together at the same time.

If you have a larger group, you may want to add in one additional accent color.  If we had more family members in this photo shoot - like my or DH's parents - another accent color we could have easily pulled from Little Lady's dress, my necklace, or my earrings is the lighter teal.  When you have more people {as in 5+ people}, a third accent color can continue to give more depth to the photo.

Once you've decided how many colors you'd like to add to your family photo color palette, you need to factor in your location.

The background of your photos will definitely help you choose your color palette.  If you're taking photos outside against mainly earth-tones - like we were in these family photos - colors like green, tan, or brown are going to completely fade us into the background.  I know that there are many people who love a color scheme of whites, light blues, and khakis for a beach scene, but I also find those to fade into the background.  Choosing colors that provide contrast from your background can make your family look distinct from their surroundings.

So, now that you have your number of colors and color palette - what next?

I tend to begin by finding one inspiration piece.  In this case, I found this dress for Little Lady and used it to determine the outfits for the whole family.  After I found this dress, I was able to start piecing together everyone else, one by one.

When you're adding each family member's outfit, you want to be mindful of a few things.  The first is finding pieces that coordinate, but don't necessarily have to match.  I find that pairing different patterns tends to help.  Stripes, plaids, paisley, dots, prints - if you're in the same color families, you can mix these to provide texture while still looking coordinated... again without being matchy-matchy.

It's also important to make sure each outfit will look nice next to any other outfit in the bunch.  For example, in the three photos above you can see that any configuration between DH, the kids, and I would result in a coordinated look.

Another way I add depth to our photos is by layering. DH doesn't typically allow me to mess with his outfits too much, but when it's cooler outside, he'll give way to a sweater with v-neck underneath or a t-shirt under a button-up under a structured jacket.  With Little Man - I love layering button-up's, vests/sweaters, and jackets.  For Little Lady, a great way to layer is to use tights and jackets as well.  Even a printed tight or legging underneath a more solid color to her clothing would stick with the theme.  I tend to layer myself with accessories, which we'll talk about in a moment.

Before we do though - I want to hit on one trick that helps me immensely while shopping - bringing my other main pieces with me.  For these photo outfits - once I found Little Lady's dress, I took it with me to any other store I visited to lay it next to the other possible outfits.  That way, you'll know quickly if the pieces you're picking up are actually going to work before you bring them home.

After you've found your outfits, it's time to accessorize!

Adding in items like colorful shoes, jewelry, scarves, and hair bows are extremely easy options for women and girls to accessorize, but the boys and men tend to be more difficult.  In this photo shoot and in the past, I've accessorized our guys by adding hats, ties, watches, and scarves.

It may seem like this is just one more detail to worry about, but it you even just minimally accessorize, it finishes out the photo!

I hope the method I use to choose our family photo outfits has helped out just a bit if you're stumped on planning your own outfits!  I'd love to hear in the comments what color palettes you've used before!

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Monday, January 27, 2014

My Babywearing ISO List

I've finally hit that point in my babywearing journey.

Yep, that's right.

I have an "In Search Of" or ISO list.

At some point in your babywearing journey, you develop a keen eye for what you like, don't like, want, and would love to have even if it's extremely unlikely you'll ever own these wraps or carriers.  In that quest, I've found a certain list of carriers/wraps that I would LOVE in which to wear my children.

Without further ado, on we go:

Pavo Etini Holly 7

Gorgeous, right?  I've been looking for a 7 for a long time, and when I saw a friend selling this on the swap, I realized just a few moments too late that this was definitely one of my ISO's.  Thankfully, I have a fantastic BWI co-leader who tracked this beauty down {just after I originally wrote this post} and traded one of her wraps to get this one for me.  Sometimes I wonder just how lucky I am to have such amazing friends.  I don't typically love bold colors, but this wrap is gorgeous and it has a little bit of a sentimental meaning with the name as well - so I'm very glad this one ended up on my permastash list instead of my ISO list!

Let's go back to my love of buckles for a moment.

Kinderpack Bella Toddler Standard Strap 

I love a good soft structured carrier, as many of you know.  With Little Lady, our Petunia Pickle Bottom Ergo in Portofino has been my number one reached for carrier.  However, it is already a little bit on the small side seat-wise for my very tall Little Man - and I would love to size up into a toddler carrier.  I have vacillated back and forth between a Tula Toddler and a Kinderpack, but I just think this is the carrier for us.

Back to wrap world again for a moment...

Didymos Eva 6

Ever since I found out we were having a girl, I've wanted to buy a really girly wrap.  We have so much neutral stuff, that I'd love to be able to wear Little Lady in a bright pink and purple wrap mainly because I love it so much.  This wrap would be an excellent teaching wrap {and learning!} as well because the rails are striped.  With a striped wrap, it's easier to see exactly which rail you're tightening and if you're twisted or have mixed up your rails.  And I love this one!

Toddler Carrier!

Little Man currently has his own ring sling that he loves, from an awesome friend of ours - but as many of you know - we're a babywearing obsessed family.  Lol.  I'd love to have two carriers - one for each child.  The next doll carrier we add for the kids to play with is definitely going to be a soft structured carrier, and I'm loving on the Urban Elephant print (not pictured below) of the Kinderpack doll carrier (pictured below).

There are a few more on my list, but I think these are the main carriers and wraps on my ISO list lately.  Do any of you have ISO lists?  What do yours look like?

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Secondhand Sunday #6 - Kitchen Table Chairs

After I repainted my parents' old kitchen table, I was left with a slight problem - chairs.

Initially when we were given the table, my parents also gave us four chairs that came with the table.  Somehow, though, in the process of moving between at least two apartments and our house one of the chairs was broken.  And I'm not talking like, dinged broken.  I'm talking like the seat of the chair was completely cracked in half.

So, not so able to be repaired.  Onto my secondhand search.

I started searching our marketplace for a set of four chairs.  I looked for probably a month or two for the perfect set, and actually when I found them - I almost passed them by.  I inquired about them to the seller but really didn't think I was going to purchase them.  Mainly, I didn't think I'd be buying them because two of the chairs had arms and two were armless.  But after seeing them in person, I negotiated just a twidge and brought these lovely babies home in the back of my car.

Part of the reason I was able to negotiate the chairs to a lower rate {I believe I spent $20 for all four chairs} was because there was a spindle or two broken in the backs of one of the chairs.  I'm not sure if that was why the seller {who repurposes furniture as a business} sold these to me with only primer on them, but DH was able to fix the spindles in about a half hour with some wood glue, some clamps, and some sandpaper when they were dry.

The first thing I ended up doing with these chairs was a massive clean-up.  They were full of cobwebs, tape, dirt, and scuffs.  After a good cleaning, I sanded a few spots down and then did one more quick wash/wipe.

DH and I began by priming these again with a brush, but quickly switched to spray painting when we realized how much of a pain that was.  After a coat more of primer just to be safe {because that's how I roll}, DH and I spray painted the chairs the oceany blue-green color.  It took probably a can or so for each chair of Valspar spray paint to cover the way I wanted it to look, but it totally did the job.

We added these chairs to the breakfast nook in our kitchen with our chalkboard table, and I have to tell you friends - I'm in love.

What do you think?  Worth my $20 on those old chairs?

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Catch the Moment 365 - Days 15 through 21

Since there was so much going on around our house with the kids' birthday party last week, it took a little bit more effort to remember to grab the camera and snap a few photos intermittently.  I'm glad I did though as I picked up some great memories!

15/365 - I think Little Man is starting to get into it, as he asked me to take his picture while eating dinner that night before all the relatives came in and the party planning started to get hectic.

16/365 - Little Man Q tip painting upper and lower case letters.

17/365 - Little Man & Nana playing together on the iPad.

18/365 - Little Lady had no problem getting into her smash cake at the party!

19/365 - Little Lady playing in their new tent from Nana & Pop pop, she absolutely loves standing at the window and playing peekaboo.

20/365 - Little Man painting leftover birdhouses from the party.  When he started he only wanted to paint them white, but then after a short while he did add a few other small splashes of color.

21/365 - This.kid.guys.  I know this photo isn't the best, as she was lunging toward me yelling "Ahhhhhhhhhhh!" and I snapped it and then caught her and wrapped her up in my arms.

Have you linked up?  Click the button below to add your link up or browse everyone else's photos!

Nurse Loves Farmer

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