The Frugal Grandma

I have a weakness for Christmas items on clearance, so the adrenaline rush hit when I discovered a mid-January 90% price reduction sale recently.  Whoa… a gingerbread tree kit for less than $2.  This would be fun to do with my two-year old granddaughter! Oh, no…Christmas is 11 months away.
So what.  She is two and we can call it a winter tree. 

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Rachel2-8865plCurious fingers open the box and pull out the contents.

Rachel2-8887hfm20plHmmm…pretty, but what do I do with them?

Rachel2-8903It wasn’t too hard to stack the cookies, but the kit frosting wasn’t quite as plentiful as the box portrayed.  Cream cheese frosting would have been easier.

Rachel2-8900dmvOops!  Someone took a bite…

Rachel2-8914Add the pretty candy balls.

Rachel2-8923hfm20dmvEven winter trees need a (broken) star.

Rachel2-8925Tah-dahhhh!!
Considering that a two-year old tends to have the attention span of a gnat, I’d say lasting one full hour on a project is impressive. On top of that, it held MY full attention for an hour. I did rush the decorative frosting part and pretty much globbed it on. Martha Stewart would have rolled her eyes and tisked

Rachel2-8944Even though the results weren’t as perfect as pictured on the box, it looked just fine to me.  In this case, I declared the process  more important than the results.  I doubt that I will be asked to be a contestant on any of the cake decorating reality shows, anyway.  That’s O.K., I have enough to do already!

“Create with the heart; build with the mind.”

~Criss Jami

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Street Performance… it’s a living.

Street performers add an element to the tourist environment that sometimes defies historical significance of location, but they do add sparkle. I especially enjoy musicians that add their artistry to soften the harsh sounds of daily reality on the streets, subway stations, etc.

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Santiago, Spain

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Santiago, Spain

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Santiago, Spain

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Segovia, Spain

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Madrid, Spain

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Chicago, Illinois subway platform

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Downtown Chicago, Illinois

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Downtown Chicago, Illinois

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Santiago, Spain with a boot to collect donations.

Bea: loyal ~ companion ~ friend

Bea

Bea

Hair has always been a challenge when trying to extract a subject from its background and still have it look natural and not “cut out.”

Below is the original image.

schmitz-2004Refine edge to the rescue!  Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’m posting the link to the Youtube tutorial I found that seems to be the easiest for me to comprehend and follow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2N4HmM6QOYM

Photo info: Canon 5D Mark 2 | Canon 70-200  L lens with image stabilization | Editing done in Photoshop CS5 | ISO 200 | 2.8 aperture | 1/500 shutter | available light

Embracing Winter

Since Gov. Dayton has declared all public schools closed for Monday, January 6 due to dangerous temps and wind chills, it seems fitting to blend some snow images.  While the temps warmed up to -4 degrees F on the day these images were captured, it really didn’t seem all that cold.  (The subject may beg to differ since she had fewer layers on than me.)

Embracing Winter

Embracing Winter

Photo Info: Canon 5D Mark 2 / ISO 160 / aperture 2.8 / shutter 1/800
Two images blended plus a little extra “snow” added in the air with Album DS clipart.  Album DS is a software plug-in for Photoshop which, interestingly enough, is based out of Spain.

I’m glad I’m not outside capturing these images today!  Even I have limits…

It’s all about the energy

The energy of the mind is the essence of life. ~ Aristotle

I love life.  Life is up… life is down…  Images can reflect that emotion with a little planning.

Moyer-7598popdmvhpshcr2Long beautiful hair lends itself to the movement of the image above as does the fun, playful personality of the subject.  I focus on the subject, subject turns to the back, swings hair forward and just feel the fun.  I played with the cropping until I decided that this was the most pleasing angle.  Focus is tricky and the shutter was as fast as my flash sync would allow – 1/200. If using a darker background I back light the hair to show separation and depth. 5.6 ~ 1/200 ~ Canon 5d mark 2 ~ 70-200 L lens

VanD-6796wwdmvhpshcrBack light from the sun gives extra “spark” to the image as does the athletic pose of a volleyball player.  2.8 ~ 1/1000  ~ Canon 5d mark2 ~ 70-200 L lens

On the edge of adulthood…

…excitement, anticipation, anxiety, questioning, wondering…

This Bible passage seems to speak to young people as they look forward to graduation.
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Thoughts race through young minds on the cusp of a new world. Which direction should I go? Which school or vocation should I pursue? …and the age old question – What if I fail?
So many opportunities before them in high school and beyond. If one tries, there is an activity or pursuit that will fit their talents, personalities and interests.

I am usually in envy of young people with their whole adult lives ahead of them, but should I be? I am in a transition phase, as well, but I have many years of experiences and efforts behind me.  I already know what I can and cannot do so that narrows the field. (Lots of things I use to be able to do that are not options now)  I also know what I want to do which is also a plus.

The big question, though, is what SHOULD I do?

O.K., so maybe I’m not so different from these young guys and gals after all!  Maybe the Bible passage is a good one for all of us in any of our stages in life.  Hmmm…