March 30, 2012

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I volunteered again to produce the class craft for Maben's preschool class.  Here is a sneak peek at what I did today.  The unveiling of the whole project will come next week.

The egg on the leaf.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

A beautiful butterfly.

I took an entire preschool class and told the story of, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," in three scenes using hands and paint.  I think my homage to Eric Carle would make him proud. 

If you are curious what I did last year, take a look here.

March 27, 2012

Photo 366 #13

I really enjoyed shooting photos this week.  I sought out more opportunities this week, than letting them come to me.  I didn't feel forced to take any photos this, which is amazing!  My trepidation with doing a photo a day for an entire year was losing the urge to want to take photos.  I was really hoping that it wouldn't happen and this week, reassured me that this is something that I am very capable and love doing. 

March 20 - Maben was so excited to have his first pair of rain boots.  He loved being able to splash in the puddles and not have wet feet.  He loves his boots so much that he wanted to sleep in them and wore them for two days, minus sleeping in them.  I have to draw the line somewhere!

March 21 - Colton and I were out and about and decided to swing by a duck pond and found about 20 black bellied whistling ducks.

March 22 - While at the park with the kids, there were a lot of butterflies that kept fluttering through.  I managed to capture this red admiral drinking some nectar from the flowers on the bushes. 

March 23 - The kids, myself and a few friends drove up to Independence, TX again to check out the wildflowers and hit up The Antique Rose Emporium.  That is truly a magical place.  Filled with so much beauty and I cannot wait to try planting some of their roses in one of my flower beds.  Not only is it a nursery, but they host weddings there it's so beautiful.  Here are Maben and Colton standing in front of beautiful wooden doors that belong to the antique chapel on the grounds.

March 24 - The moon was just showing a sliver, but I could make out the shadows in the full moon.  I decided to I needed a better look, so I pulled out my tripod and camera and caught the details that my eyes couldn't quite make out.

March 25 - The whole family hit up the Bayou City Arts Festival with a friend and he managed to score a massive balloon.  Of course my kids were fascinated with it.  I was in good company (lots of artists and art lovers) and no one looked at me too funny for immediately grabbing my camera, laying on the ground and shooting a great perspective of Maben holding a giant balloon.

March 26 - I have been driving around every few days to see if I can find my white hawk again.  Unfortunately, I haven't seen him since I last reported a few weeks ago, but I did find this beautiful scissortail flycatcher. 

March 22, 2012

The Origin of Keep Calm and Carry On

When I was at Barnes and Noble yesterday, I saw notebooks, coffee cups and other various items stamped with, "Keep Calm and Carry On."  It got me thinking about it's origin.  There is no denying it's impact in the last few years on the crafting community.  It's been customized over and over again.

Keep Calm and Eat a Cupcake
Keep Calm and Rock On
Keep Calm and Call Batman
Keep Calm and Love On

You get the point.  Anyways, I wasn't sure I would find the origin of where it came from, but while surfing the internet last night, I came across a video that explains just that.  Enjoy!

March 20, 2012

Photo 366 #12

I can't believe I have been doing this for 12 weeks now!  I think I am more impressed that I haven't missed a day yet. 

March 13 - I went out scouting for my white red-tailed hawk, I didn't find him, but I found this normal looking red-tailed hawk.

March 14 - I took the kids to the Houston Rodeo.  It was a super busy day and the lines were really long for everything.  I am talking 45 minute wait for the petting zoo!  I let Maben pick the one thing he really wanted to do and we would wait for that.  He wanted to ride a pony, the $6 and 30 minute wait were worth it for the look on his face.  He didn't have any anxiety (which he normally would), he was just so happy and content up on the pony that it melted my heart.

March 15 - Visited a local farm with a friend of mine and we got to see newborn triplet nubian goats.  We are talking only a few days old.  Aren't they cute?

March 16 - I went to scout out the bluebonnet location that we went to last year and it didn't disappoint.  This is the best local spot I know of. 

March 17 - We spent our St. Patty's day up at Fort Hood welcoming a dear friend home from Afghanistan.  We got to cruise around on post and got out to show the kids some tanks and artillery. 

March 18 - This is Phantom Warrior statue in front of III Corps at Fort Hood.  It is based off of a Frank Frazetta illustration.  If you want to read a little more about the statue, you can go here.

March 19 - I got a serious amount of work done last night on the preschool class craft.  Here is a look at a small portion of the work I did.  This is also the reason why this post is getting put up late today.  I was working on this bad boy til 1am.

March 17, 2012

Nothing Like Experience

There is truly nothing better than experience.  I am probably low balling the number when I say that I have taken 75,000 photographs since Maben was born.  Over my life, it's well over 100,000.  I love being able to look back at photos that I have recreated to see how much I have grown.

Scenery: Beautiful and similar
Pose: The exact same (this is Maben's go to pose)
Lighting: I have learned!

Let me dissect the lighting in these photos. 

In 2010, there is a harsh sun behind the subject, creating harsh shadows on the face.  I had no reflector, did not use the flash, just figured since it was light out that was enough.  Not the case. 

In this year's photo, a thin cloud covered sky, late in the day which gave the great golden glow.  The light is coming from behind me.  Overall, a much better photograph with just a change in the lighting. 

I have grown and learned due to my passion for photography.  My passion and desire drove me to dissect and analyze my photographs with a constructive eye.  I now look for a better photo, wait for the right moment, set it up better so therefore I can take better quality photographs and not worry so much on the quantity.  I mean, why take 20 photos if you can get it in 3?

Now, be prepared to be sick of bluebonnets.  Tis the season for the wildflowers and the bluebonnets are one of my favorites!  I will be taking off for many more outings in wildflowers while they last.

March 16, 2012

What I'm Working On

I have not been blogging much as I seem to have a million and one things currently going on.  I have a tutorial in the works that I can't seem to get complete.  It will happen one day.  I have two large projects that I am working on for my son's preschool fair.  See one of them below.  It will blow your mind when it's done (I hope). 

I still have my stained glass piece to complete.  That probably won't happen until after the preschool fair stuff is done as I am focusing my efforts there.

I have also had to do some graphic design.  Here is one of the pieces that is currently being reviewed.

I have also been scouting locations for my photography group to do photos in the bluebonnets.  I cannot wait for them to be in full bloom!

So, there you have it.  This whole year of creativity is wonderful, but it is taking a serious hit on the time I have for my blog.  So in conclusion, I need to finish a lot of projects, stop neglecting my blog and keep on keeping on. 

Does anyone have this many projects in the works too?

March 13, 2012

Photo 366 #11

This week there was a LOT of rain.  I love the rain.  I am happy for it, but doesn't necessarily provide the best opportunity for photos.  I am still working on indoor photos, they are a struggle for me.  Part of the reason is that my house is surrounded by huge trees, which means there isn't a whole lot of light.  Light is essential for great photos.  Even with all the rain, I did steal out for a few great shots.

March 6 - The moon was full and eerie.  There was a thin layer of clouds that were swiftly moving across the moon.  It created a wonderful halo effect when photographing it.

March 7 - Colton is not a fan of getting his photo taken anymore.  So, this is his pouty, stop taking my photo face.  It's so cute!

March 8 -I hit up the nursery for a look at some more plants.  It was a dark and gloomy day, but I couldn't resist pulling out my camera and photographing a flower that I was unaware could grow in Texas.  I loved seeing Columbines in Colorado, I might have to try planting some of these in my garden.

March 9 - It had been raining for a while and we were all feeling a bit cooped up.  We took the kids to the pizza buffet and then let them play some video games afterwards.  Maben asks me all the time when he will get to drive my car.  After watching his simulated drive...the answer to that question will be, "NEVER!"

March 10 - I spent the night in the garage working on some big projects that I have going on.  Can't wait to get them done so I can show them all off.

March 11 - Despite the rain, a friend of mine and the kids hit the road to scout some bluebonnets and just drive.  The rain seemed to part for us (while it was pouring at home) and produce some amazing skies.

March 12 - Capturing Maben's artwork.  He came up to me, so proud to show me his picture.  I asked him what it was and his reply, "See, there is fire, he's on fire mommy.  There is a firehose and an ant."  "Is there any firemen baby?"  "No mommy, it's a fire ant, no firemen!" 

March 6, 2012

Photo 366 #10

The further along I get with my Photo 366, the more I realize that my real passion in photography is everything that mother nature has to offer.  I actually laughed at my husband when way back in the day he told me I would be a nature photographer.  I guess he could see what sparked a passion in me, even before I could.

February 28 - The boys and I traveled to Bear Creek Pioneers Park.  It's a great park with ball fields, soccer fields, a playground, tennis courts and lots of rescued animals.  This buffalo was actually cooperative for photos that day.  Usually they are so far from the fence, that even with my 300mm lens, they look tiny.  I am so happy I got to finally photograph this beast up close and even happier that he didn't charge when Colton tried to get a rise out of him by kicking the fence.

February 29 - The kids and I ventured out to the Houston Audubon Society for their Titmouse Club to learn all about ladybugs.  While we were there, the turtles were out sunbathing.  How nice of them to line up in ascending size order.

March 1 - My leucistic red-tailed hawk.  Yup, I call him mine.  I figured if I have been fortunate enough to have him show himself to me so many times that he is my buddy.  I will definitely be keeping tabs on this beautiful guy.

March 2 - I hadn't taken a decent photo all day, so I looked around my house completely covered in toys.  Boy toys.  What's more of a boy toy than legos.  A small capture of chaos that was the state of my house that night.

March 3 - Another stained glass class under my belt and I am getting closer to having my window complete.  I have started the soldering of this piece.  I need to finish it and possibly reinforce it, then lay it in either a zinc channel or wood channel. 

March 4 - It's bluebonnet time!  I am so excited.  They are out early this year and so the boys and I went out scouting.  We definitely found some early bloomers and lots of butterflies.  The butterfly on this one seems to match the bluebonnet and indian paintbrush.  It's called a pipevine swallowtail.

March 5 - I love a daytime moon, especially one this close to being full. 

March 5, 2012

Fence Picket Flag: Texas Edition

One of my favorite projects for decor last year was my Fence Picket American Flag.  Well, I decided to do another, this time a Texas Flag.

Now, not a Native Texan, but both of my children are.  I also don't mind being patriotic and Texas has treated us well.  I could deal without the 100+ degree weather in the summer, but overall, Texas is pretty great and I am okay with celebrating that.

Both of my flags were done to the correct proportions.  This is why the Texas flag looks smaller than the American flag.  Other than cutting off a portion of the fence pickets, the process was the exact same in the construction.

It looks pretty great hanging on our fence.  Don't mind the large pile of stone, we are turning that into a patio...hopefully sometime this summer.

March 2, 2012

Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk

So, I have been a little obsessed lately.  Since spotting that beautiful white hawk, I have been bound and determined to see it again and identify the type of bird it is.  Well, I hit the jackpot.  I have seen the white beauty two more times and the last time, I got some phenomenal photos!!!

I also put a lot of photos out to a lot of people to help me with the identification.  Well, the authority on birds, Cornell University answered.  They confirmed for me that this beauty is a leucistic red-tailed hawk.

Enter biology lesson here:  Leucisim is not albinism.  It is a condition where a genetic mutation has happened that causes a reduction in melanin (what gives the feathers color).  The bird when affected with this will either have pale plumage or white plumage.  It can affect it's whole body or just parts. You can read more about this condition here.

Now I promise I am not just going to fill my blog with photography, I am working on a preschool class craft and a stained glass window.  Both of which are taking a bit of my time and I am not ready to post anything about them just yet.  Also, bird hunting has been forcing my little guy to take naps in the afternoon, because he is being confined in the car with me.  Colton is attempting to give up naps and I'm just not ready for that.

I hope everyone has a tremendous weekend.  It will be a busy one for me, but hopefully by the end of this weekend, I will have a stained glass window to show for it!

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