Archive for January, 2010

There’s all kinds of things I could be doing and seeing as how it’s snowed steadily ALL DAY LONG and it’s now 4:45, I figure we won’t be going to church tomorrow so whatever I didn’t do today I can do tomorrow (after I help shovel the driveway, of course).

I have fabric to cut up for a batik swap I’m in over on about.com. I have fabric for two gift projects to wash, dry, iron. I have a book I can start. I’ve been waiting for the snow to stop so that I can take the camera out. I’ve been taking pictures through the windows, but that is limiting.

So in the meantime, I thought I would post pictures of one of my favorite pasttimes: documenting typos on Channel 12 news.

For crying out loud Channel 12, why are you hiring people who can’t spell/type to do your on-screen titles? And why isn’t there someone else on your payroll who can do the QC on them before they go live?


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I’m a fan of Stuck in Customs, Trey Ratcliff’s amazing HDR photos. There are those who decry what he does as “not realistic,” etc. but I see his work as artistic, creative and the colors are amazing. Wait, I already said amazing.

I lugged my tripod around Rockwood Park because if there was an opportunity to get an HDR shot, I didn’t want to miss it. If you don’t know what HDR is, it stands for High Dynamic Range. You can Google around to get more detailed info on the concept. When I got to the pond, I didn’t really see anything artistic about it, but there was this wooden dock across the way that looked like the most promising thing around. So I set up the tripod, plugged in my new remote shutter release cable to avoid shake at all costs (the only thing I didn’t set was mirror lockup, a feature new to me on the 40D) and took 5 identical shots. Identical except for the exposures. I used exposure compensation set at -2, -1, 0, +1, +2. Basically I got 2 underexposed shots, 1 fairly correct and 2 overexposed shots.

I brought all 5 into Photoshop CS3, and used the “merge to HDR” function which opens a new document and loads each of the photos onto a different layer in it. I don’t know enough about it yet to know if there’s anything more to it than that. I expect there is, because you can load multiple pictures into layers manually, whether they’re for HDR or not. But that’s as far as I took it, not knowing what else to do.

I then ran Topaz Adjust on it and this is my result, not in Trey Ratcliff’s territory but interesting:

[Edited to add] This is not displaying as vibrant as I see it on my computer, let me see if I can figure out what the problem is this time. Every time I think I’ve got this figured out, something changes.

I’ll have to play with it some more to see if I can get it anywhere near what Trey is able to accomplish. Of course, his procedure may be way complicated or it could be as easy as adding a couple of filters in Photoshop, you just can’t tell by looking at it.


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This past Saturday, the Richmond Photography Meetup group met at Rockwood Park on Hull Street (Hwy 360) in Chesterfield County. I had not been there before and was anxious for a new opportunity to make some more “Wordless Wednesday” images since I’ve run out.

There were about 20 of us; some, like me, with tripods, one or two with a monopod, one guy wearing two camera bodies around his neck. Yes we certainly looked professional and we got more than one curious look from the people enjoying a relatively nice day at the park (it was in the low 50s which was quite a warm-up from the weekend before). One lady, new to the group, brought her sheltie and I wonder if she regretted that decision. I know I can’t bring Joey on a photowalk, I’d never get any pictures taken.

This is a nice park with about 5 miles of walking trails, a big lake (or pond as it’s called on the map), baseball diamonds, an arboretum, a nature center and a dog park. We took the “orange” trail, which starts near the dog park, winds along the pond and ends at the nature center. Marlene, the organizer of the event, admitted that she wasn’t sure there would be many opportunities for good shots, considering the time of year, but we did it anyway. I think most of us agreed that we should come back in the spring and/or fall when there will be more color.


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Photowalking at the lake

The weekend before last, I had to be up and out early on Saturday to get the dog to the groomer so I decided to take my camera and tripod down to our neighborhood lake. We had had a light dusting of snow a few days before and while I wish I could have done this before going to work when it was fresh, there was still enough sitting on the frozen lake that I thought I might get some good shots.


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Another quillow

On this past long weekend, I made another quillow. This was another test, for size.

Joann’s was having a big sale, so I got this Debbie Mumm fabric at 50% off:

It’s called “Spice of Life.” I wasn’t really picky about fabric this time since I’m going to give it to the dog. I looked at some cute coordinating doggy fabric but it wasn’t on sale so I put it back for another time.

Have you looked at fabric made especially for Joann’s? Check out this 3/4″-wide selvedge:

What’s up with that? Surely they could make their logo smaller.

I was trying to come up with a good size for a baby/child and since I couldn’t find an “exact” quillow pattern on the internet, I decided to make mine crib sized. I also wanted it to be easy enough to cut/work with so I decided mine would be 30″ wide finished, by width of fabric long. It ended up 30″ x 40″ with an 11″ pocket. The pocket was really too small, it’s hard to get the quilt folded up in it. I wonder if there’s some magic ratio formula that I should have used. My thinking was that when folded into thirds, each third would be about 10″ wide. So I made the pocket an inch wider. I should have made it 2 inches wider at least, but you can’t test this until it’s all finished.

I think this size is ok for a baby to lay on and a good drag-around size for a toddler. Once they get to be school-aged, I think a regular size is warranted.


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I ordered these wonderful wool gloves from London:

They are fingerless only on the thumb and forefinger and are designed for use with personal electronics: iPhones and iPod Touches, cameras, gaming systems and other gadgets.

The website provides you with a sizing chart to print out and find your fit which is very helpful, because I ordered the children’s size and they fit me perfectly. John told me about this site, he had heard about it on a podcast, and he said he almost bought me a pair for birthday/Christmas. But I’m glad he didn’t because he would have ordered the women’s size. They would have been way too big for me.

I wish I’d had these when I went to the Lewis Ginter GardenFest of Lights because my hands froze that night. I bought a pair of long underwear last week and with these gloves,  I should be good for any cold-weather photography. Well, I don’t have a hat or scarf yet so maybe I’m not ready for just any cold weather. And hopefully we’ll be back to our seasonal temps soon anyway.

The website is here. The gloves cost ₤19.99 plus ₤1.30 shipping which translates to roughly $35 U.S. My bank charged me a dollar for the foreign currency transaction. It took about a week-and-a-half for them to get here.


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Quillow? Check!

I spent the day sewing yesterday. It sure felt good.

On New Year’s Eve, my friend Kay showed me a quillow a friend had made for her. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a rectangular quilt with a pocket on one side. When you don’t need it as a quilt, you can fold it up, stuff it into the pocket and it becomes a pillow. I had heard about them, but had never made one.

Until yesterday.

I ran across this fun flannel the other week and decided to buy it for myself. Didn’t have a plan for it at the time. But after seeing the quillow, I thought it would be perfect. (More about this decision later).

Isn’t that cute? It’s called “Sunshine Cows in Shorts.”

Quillows are easy to make but I always have difficulties managing large pieces of fabric and this pattern calls for 2 yards by width-of-fabric for the bottom, 2 for the top and 2 for the batting. My cutting station isn’t that large and I ended up cutting the batting to size with scissors. Since I had pre-shrunk the flannel, it was no longer as wide as the batting. Because I was on the floor trying to do this, and because flannel stretches, my quillow isn’t as square as I would have liked, but when I was finished I was surprised that it isn’t obvious.

About the flannel: I don’t think I’ll make another quillow with it, and I’m not sure I’ll make anything else with it. At least not in these proportions. Kay’s quillow is made with regular quilting cotton and isn’t as stiff and bulky as mine.

But as I snuggled under it while watching TV last night, it sure kept me toasty warm.

My pillow is a little lumpy, but I guess I just need practice stuffing it in there.


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Look at this.

I’ve got bias binding! I was talking about my problems with this over on the quilting forum at about.com and Misha came up with my solution. I had marked the lines for my strips parallel to the straight grain side and not to the bias side. The directions clearly say to do that and I just overlooked it. I have made a number of notes in my book complete with arrows and highlighting and underlining. The process is not hard when you do it right LOL.

And so, I have finished the tablerunner. This isn’t the greatest picture, I don’t have one of Vicki W.’s gray cards for color correction, but I think the colors are pretty accurate. This is a small runner, only 34″ long. I don’t have a table for it and it might make a better wallhanging. The pattern is “Mango Tango” by Heather Mulder Patterson. It’s designed for a charm pack.

Does anyone else have trouble with the 45° angles when sewing the binding on these pointy-ended tablerunners? Mine don’t look too bad on the front, my problem is with the finishing on the back. It isn’t as easy to make the little fold as it is with the 90° points. I like watching Sharon Schamber’s how-to videos on YouTube and she makes bindings look super-simple (although I tried her glue method once and couldn’t needle through it. Lesson learned, there’s a reason she uses that fine glue tip.) But so far, I haven’t seen her do a 45° angle. Got any tips?


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Happy New Year!

Welcome 2010! And I’m calling it Twenty-Ten, not Two-Thousand-Ten. More efficient.

We rang in the new year with good friends, good food and a rousing game of “Wizard.” Do you know it?

May this be your best year EVER!


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