Monday, October 31, 2011

Crocheted Shell Bookmark

This is the cutest bookmark.  I found the pattern at Armina's Ami-nals and gave it a try.  It was really easy.  I didn't have to rip out any stitches (which is unheard of for me) AND I didn't have to run to Kadie (of Seven Alive) for troubleshooting.

I tried to use a bunch of my jewelry beads, but most of them had tiny holes and I wasn't able to get the yarn through.  These were the only beads that were workable, and look how great they ended up looking.  I got lucky.  :)

I think that I'm going to need more yarn so I can do a bunch of little Christmas stocking stuffers.  Is it too soon to talk about Christmas?  I guess not if you're making gifts, right!

Yikes, she looks intense, huh.  

This is where I'm (we're? do I include her?) partying:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

SUNDAY SOUP - Minestrone

This has to be one of the most forgiving, easiest, best-tasting soups we eat around here.  It kind of feels like a 'kitchen sink' soup.

I start with a bit of oil and onion.

Add in some dried chillies (you can skip this if you aren't a fan of heat) and oregano.

Add some type of broth or stock.  I usually use vegetable but chicken would also be good.

Dump in a can of diced tomatoes.

Throw in some kind greens - spinach, chard, kale, whatever.  This is chard from the garden (the last of it, sniff).

Add a can of black beans (or whatever kind of beans you prefer).  I drain and rinse mine to reduce the salt and keep the broth from getting too cloudy.  Of course you can do what you like.

Throw in two handfuls (2/3 cup approximately) of pasta.  I like the di pepe which are really tiny little dots of pasta.  So cute.

I let all of this simmer, stirring occasionally and getting right to the bottom because those little pasta tend to stick if you don't.  After about an hour, the flavours have melded beautifully.  If you can't wait an hour, just cook until the pasta is done and it will still taste great.  

Considering this is a Sunday football soup, I am tempted to say "Go Steelers", but then I also have to say,... Go Ravens for Amy, Chiefs for Terri, Colts for Kadie, and Cowboys for JoePaul.  Hey, maybe I should be making up a ProLine ticket.  Hmmmmmm.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Photography Challenge - Week #14

Well, this week's theme is 'Sunset'.  And I don't have one.  Not even a random ray of sunshine.  Nope.  Instead, I have rain and drizzle and showers and sprinkling.  Sorry.  If the sun ever happens to show it's face around here again, I promise that I will snap some photos and share them with you.  In the meantime, here are some other people's sunsets, all from Photobucket:

The sunset Pictures, Images and Photos

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Photo Tips Series - Shutter Speed

So, we started off with ISO, and then moved on to aperture, and now the last piece of the exposure triangle is shutter speed.

Shutter speed measures the time that the shutter remains open.  The camera settings are marked in seconds or fractions of seconds.  The shutter speed works with the aperture and ISO to produce a correctly exposed photograph (more on this next week when we tackle the exposure triangle).

One thing that you can do with shutter speed is shoot in really low light.  By keeping the shutter open for a prolonged amount of time, you can get enough light onto the sensor to create a photo.

This first photo was shot at night but the shutter stayed open for 6 seconds (yep, had to use a tripod), allowing so much light to hit the sensor that it appeared to be daylight.

f/7.1,  6.0, 1600ISO
This photo shows what the night sky actually looked like, using a shutter speed of 1/2 a second.

f/7.1,  1/2,  1600ISO

Though shutter speed can help with low-light, it is much more often used to capture movement, either by freezing the motion or by creating an artistic blur.

For example, if your children are running around in the yard and you want to freeze their movement, you will choose a fast shutter speed.  I don't have children and there haven't been any running around our yard so I had to settle for a metronome.  Yeah,....not really the same thing.  Sorry, lol.

Anyway, freeze the motion of the metronome, I used a fairly fast shutter speed of 1/250.

F/3.5, 1/250, 1600ISO
To show the movement of the metronome,  I used a slower shutter speed.  In this case, I used 1/6 which meant that the camera lens stayed open much longer and therefore was able to record some of the metronome's movement.

f/11, 1/6, 1600ISO
One place that you really see creative use of shutter speed is with running water.  A slower shutter speed can make it look like the water is flowing.  I wish this was my photo, but it isn't.  It's K.W. Sanders'.  It is, however, a perfect example of using shutter speed to capture the movement of the waterfall.

Upper Falls at Caney Creek by K.W. Sanders.

Another creative use of shutter speed is shown below.  Again, the shutter is kept open longer (slower shutter speed) so that it can record the movement of the car lights.  (Yeah, this isn't my photo either).

Top Design Mag

One thing to keep in mind when shooting at slower shutter speeds is that if you are unable to keep the camera still, you will end up with unintentional blurring of your photos.  Digital Photography School gives a good rule of thumb:  Keep your shutter speed denominator (the bottom number in the fraction if you're rusty from school), greater than your lens length.  In non-technical words -- if your lens is 50mm (it says this right on the lens if you're unsure), then you want to keep your shutter speed above 1/50; if your lens is 75mm, keep your shutter speed above 1/75, etc.

With slower shutter speeds, you might want to use a tripod to ensure that the camera remains still.  It is also a good idea to use the self-timer so that you don't shake the camera when you press down on the shutter-release.  Holding your breath or resting the camera on a table or stable object may help you as well.

Digital Photography School
Photography Bay
SLR Lounge - has a great list of further reading
Light Stalking - amazing waterfall photos

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spanish Rice

I don't think this is the proper official recipe for Spanish Rice, but this is what my mom made for us growing up.

Start by browning about 1 pound of ground beef.  Drain away the fat.

Add 2 chopped peppers; whatever colour you like.  Continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

On the side, cook up 1 cup of dry white rice.  You could also use Minute Rice for this step (which is what my mom used to do), but I prefer the taste of the white rice from scratch.  If you have tomato juice in the house, you can use the juice in place of some of the water to add extra flavour.

Back to the beef and peppers -- add one can of diced tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.  Sprinkle in some dried oregano, salt and pepper and add in the rice when it is ready.

Stir it all up and cook until any excess liquid has been absorbed.

And that's it.  How easy was that?  You could sub in all kinds of things: ground chicken or turkey, green or yellow peppers, brown rice, different herbs.  We had this with a side of braised broccoli.

This is where I'm partying:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Repotting Herbs

It is definitely not summer here anymore.  I know, I know - it hasn't been for some time but I'm just starting to accept it in some ways.  Like closing the garden - that's always hard for me.  I don't want to go back to grocery store veggies.

I also don't want to go back to paying a small fortune for herbs, especially when they are growing like weeds in the garden even right now.  So I thought I would try to dig some of them up and see if they might live inside.

I was desperate for something to put them in and scrounged around until I found these containers.

I started by peeling off the paper on each container and then using it as a template to cut out the scrapbook paper.  

I was able to wrap all three containers with a single piece of scrapbook paper and I only had that tiny square leftover that you can see in the photo below.  Talk about efficient.  Woohoo.

I then did a great big no-no and just dug up the plants with the garden soil.  I know I should have gotten a real potting soil but I was just too plain lazy and you know how it is when you just want something done now.

I started with rosemary, oregano, and parsley.

Notice my grubby dirt fingerprints on the middle and left ones?

Now we just have to cross our fingers that these little babies enjoy the warmth and shelter of indoors saving me bundles of dollars all winter long.  :)

I also put some sage leaves into a jar of water to see if they might root. I'll keep you updated on how they're doing in case you are interested in trying this yourself.    

This is where I'm partying:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

SUNDAY SOUP - Cream of Celery Soup

This was a spur-of-the-moment soup.  One of those where you feel like soup but when you check the fridge, all that's in the crisper is celery.  That kind of soup.

So I started with some butter.  Mmmmm,....butter.

Added the usual chopped onions.

Then threw in the diced celery.

I added some chicken broth and let it simmer for about 20 minutes until the celery was tender.  Then I pureed the soup with a hand blender, salt, pepper, and thyme.  I put the soup back on the heat, added about 1/4 cup of cream, and then cooked just until the cream was heated through.

I wanted to spice the soup up a bit, so I thought I would make Parmesan crisps.  I've never made them before.  Basically they are a heap of Parmesan that you broil into bubbly goodness and then let cool until they crisp up.  You can then use them like croutons (if they make it past your mouth).

Here they are starting out:

And under the broiler.  Yummy bubbly.

And here they are after I tried to remove them from the tin foil (suddenly realizing that I forgot to use cooking spray first):

Uh-huh.  Suddenly not so pretty.  I scraped the poor cheese off the of the foil and plopped the disgusting-looking remnant into the bowl of soup.  Definitely not pretty.

It was, however, quite tasty.  So maybe next time I'll spray the foil or just add Parmesan to the soup.  Either way it's an easy, simple, yummy winner.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday's Motivation - Anxiety and Insecurity

It is amazing that so many fabulous, creative, compassionate, intelligent, dependable women don't believe they are any of those things.  Let's kick insecurity and anxiety in the pants, k?

Have a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Photography Challenge - Week #13

Okay, this was some serious fun.  This week's Photography Challenge theme was 'silhouette'.  I just bought a tripod so this came in handy for this photo shoot.

f/7.1,   1/3,  ISO 1600 (tripod)

f/7.1,  1/5,  1600 ISO (tripod)
f/5.6,  1/3,  1600 ISO (tripod)

Why don't you head on over and check out the other entries, or maybe even enter yourself at Laura Beth's place.

If you enjoyed this read,...

Consider joining me over at my active blog: Write Create Connect
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...