Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Time On My Hands

Work was a little slow today.  Sitting by the window in my office, I could feel the cool fall air - crisp and clean after our rainstorm yesterday.  I decided to take my camera downstairs and see what I could learn.  I've been listening to my daughter tell me about ISO settings and shutter speeds, but it's hard for me to learn anything until I actually try it.
At first I just went outside.  I put the camera on a manual setting and just played around with the ISO and shutter speeds.  A few blown out pictures, a few too dark, and then this one:

See the little spider web?  I didn't even see that until I downloaded the picture onto my computer.  A happy accident!  Our patio isn't much to look at right now so I moved inside and just snapped a few of my favorite things inside the house.

This is one of the first things my husband and I bought together.  We got the vase at Z Gallerie, filled it with berry branches (just like they did in the store), and it sits on top of our piano in the back corner of the living room.  I don't remember where the tassels came from, but I like how they look on the vase.

Next, a little trio of my favorite collection of seashells.  I have a lot of them, and I'm always looking for more.

On the mantle I have something I really like - a wasp nest.  I got it when I worked at Ralph Lauren.  It was one of the props the visual team used in one of the bedroom setups on the fireplace mantle.  When they were changing out that room they let me have it, as they were just going to throw it out.  And it's been on the mantle in our house ever since.  It's a little weird, but I love it.

And finally, up on a little shelf is a blown glass vase I got at the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach one summer.  It sits next to a porcelain vase that was in L's apartment went I met him.  It's a little representation of things we each brought into our new life together.

It was fun working with the camera, figuring out the right settings.  I'm learning more every time I use it and it's so much fun!  I need to learn at warp speed so I can take good pictures at the end of the month when we're in NYC and Boston.  I imagine L will commandeer it when we're in NYC, but when we're in Boston I will take control as I'll have two little girls to chase after and photograph - I can't wait!
Yep - it was a quiet day - not as hectic as Monday through Wednesday.  I enjoyed having time to sneak away from my work laptop and play with the camera.  I even had time to make Pioneer Woman's recipe for Apricot Bars - kind of an oatmeal cookie crust with apricot jam in the middle.
When L got home from work we loaded the bikes on the rack and took off for our bike ride - we got in 5 miles before it got dark!  I'm liking this more and more, and I'm feeling a lot more confident on the bike.  We got home and had a steak salad with fried onion strings on top - another Pioneer Woman recipe.  It was a good-for-you salad with a small bit of naughty in the form of the onion strings.  And now it's time to call it a day.

...Did you hear that?  The apricot bars are calling to me.  I don't think they should be ignored.


  1. You are really doing well with this biking thing. So cool!

    I love the wasp nest and your shell collection. And I think your photos look really good. So do the pictures on the side of your darling grandkids. They are so beautiful, Karen.


  2. Thos are terrific pics! That wasp nest is something else. I love the little spider's web in that one pic. I'm sure you will be taking wonderful shots in Boston and NYC-

  3. A lovely collection of photos. Have a wonderful weekend ~ xox Alexandra

  4. Your skills are building. How fun to see your lovely things. So, were the apricot bars as good as you thought?

  5. I really like the things you collect - love the significance and how they relate to the world you live in there in beautiful So. Cal.

    How fun to be playing with the camera - there is always so much to learn.

    Enjoy your biking - I really wish I was biking too. I am living the biking dream through you! (It's raining here).

  6. Apricot bars should NEVER be ignored. You go, girl! :)

  7. You are really getting into photography! That is such a neat hobby. I wish I could take pictures, but I just honestly have no interest. You have to have a really good camera to do that and all we have is a very reasonable Olympus digital, plus the one one Dick's cell phone.

    I love the picures you took of things that meant a lot to you. Your vase is lovely and quite unusual. I also loved the blown glass one and I especially love the sentiment that went with it's placement........next to LeMar's.

    The wasps nest is incredibly unusual, but you know what? I LIKE IT! And the shell collection I can really relate to, because I collect shells too. Did you see them on one of the pictures I posted of the view you see from our entryway. The shell collection is on a low coffee type table in the shape of a clover that is made of marble and is the heaviest piece of furniture in the house. (Dick would dispute that statement as he has to move it every year on New Years Eve when we have our New York New Years Eve party which I will blog about near that time. I have to store my precious shells in a box and both the box and the table reside in the garage for a couple of days.)

    The apricot bars sound delicious and I think I will have to visit the Pioneer Woman to try to find it. You know me, I love trying new recipes and the steak salad sounds tempting too. Gosh, it's making me hungry just thinking about it and I just looked at my watch and realized that we usually eat dinner in fifteen minutes and Dick just woke up from his nap so I had to idea it was so late. No wonder it made me hungry. I really am.

    We had friends over for Swedish Pancakes this morning and it was really for Brunch, so we missed a meal. She loved the pancakes so much that I let her buy one of the pans that I got for wedding presents. I give them the pan,the spatula and my recipe for presents and I keep some on hand. She went home happy. I let her try her hand at flipping them and she did really well.

    Oh my golly,this is getting so long. Sorry. I'm not even going to edit it, I've just been typing away so fast, I didn't realize how long it was.

  8. REALLY LOVE the shell pictures! So fun to play around with your camera :)

  9. I love your photography skills! I especially love the first shot and the spider web. I have been trying to do manual and play with ISO shots too but really need to take a class. Alas too busy right now so will have to have photo envy for you!
    Hey, LOVE the witch hat- head shot of you...that's fun!

  10. yum, those bars sound amazing. I am excited you get to visit your grandkids in a few weeks. Your 50mm lens purchase will not go to waste! That is THE portrait lens to have. It will give you beautiful blurry backgrounds and crisp shots. You will be amazed how much better it is over your kit lens! I am jealous, I only have the 35mm. Have fun with it!

  11. I learned a great deal about taking pictures back in the day when I had to develop and print my pictures for the weekly paper I worked for.
    There's no better training that having to print your on crappy negatives.
    I learned quickly about shutter/apature, ISO settings for shooting football at night etc.
    Looks like you are well on your way.

  12. Don't ignore the apricot bars!!

    You seem to know what you're doing with your camera. The pictures are very nice.

    My daughter is marrying for the 2nd time next month. It's good to know there is life and love the 2nd time around.

  13. If you are going to continue to write about delicious sounding food and right at the end of the posting so I can't forget about it, I've got to stop reading it late at night when I usually have time to catch up on my dear friends blogs.

    Sigh...gotta go check out the pantry..

  14. Karen, you have an eye for beautiful things!!!

    I love the wasps nest on the mantle. It is so unique!

    p.s. How cool is that --a little spider web in the first shot! What a cool (and very fitting for the season) surprise!


  15. Lovely photos! I am actually trying to learn about shutter speeds, etc. right now as I am taking a beginning filmmaking class. It feels like learning an entirely new language. It looks like you have already figured it out :)


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