Friday, January 28, 2011

Click Your Heels and a CSN Giveaway

I need those magic Dorothy shoes!

Another blessed Friday.

Another cold, grey blessed day ~
Which has my wheels spinning,
about a winter getaway.

Our street : )
Where would I go
if I could
click my heels and
fly away,

If Mr. Privet said
Pack a carry-on bag,
we're out of here on
a 6PM flight.....
anywhere your heart

{Not that Mr. P. would
ever say heart desires.
Not his lingo.}

After I was done
laughing about
heart desires,
I would clap my 
hands together and say
Let's get out of Dodge!

Because, of course,
he would have taken
care of
childcare arrangements
dog boarding
stopping the paper
holding the mail
turning down the furnace
turning on the the light timers....

He's a details man.
I love that.

Lickety-split, I'd pull
out my roller board and
start stuffing it with the
bare essentials for.....



maybe even


But even a girl who
wants to roll out of
Dodge lickety-split
wants to do it in

Which is where
CSN, their lovely
giveaway and YOU
come in.

Just leave me a comment
about where you would
escape winter if money 
was no object
and practical obligations 
didn't exist, and
you will be entered into
a giveaway for a $60
gift card from CSN,
to spend anyway

Simple, right?

CSN Stores 
is actually over 200 on-line
shops, from home decor to yes,

Picture yourself wheeling
one of these carry-ons
up the jet way...

This says heart's desire : )


Isle of Capri ~ Ciao!

Deserted island?

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed
by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines, sale away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore.  Dream.  Discover.
~ Mark Twain

The give away ends
Thursday night,
February 3rd.

Good luck and
happy dreaming!


PS:  If you are a reader
but don't write a blog, 
please leave your e-mail 
with your comment
so I can reach you if you win!

images 1-3, Privet & Holly
Sunny destinations: Tumblr
Luggage:  CSN stores

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dimming Down: Ten for Tuesday


Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Gosh, where did this week go?
Seems just like yesterday that
I was squirming in my chair at
the Art Center, my blogging buddy
next to me, as the teacher flashed
up my homework on the large
screen in our classroom.

In a few hours, it will be time
to do it all, again.

This is our teacher, Carl.
I'll be attending my fourth of
eight photography classes today,
and as promised, I want to share
last week's lesson theme and
homework assignment with you.

This week, we focused 
on two things:  ISO and 
The Rule of Thirds.


In digital cameras, there is an
image sensor, instead of film,
to capture an image.  ISO refers
to how sensitive the sensor is
to different light conditions.

On my camera, the ISO settings
go from 100 {when in bright
light} to 3200 {when it's dark}.


I like to think of the ISO selection like
a dimmer switch.  If the room
was really dark, you would turn the
dimmer UP {larger number}.
If the room was very bright, you
would turn the dimmer DOWN
{smaller number}.


The Rule of Thirds, aka
The Golden Ratio,
is based on an age-old composition
principal which breaks a picture down into
thirds, both vertically and horizontally.
{Actually, it breaks it down into a 
ratio of 1:1:618, to be precise.}
When framing a picture, you want the
most dominant aspect of your image
to be placed where these lines intersect
for the most pleasing picture.

In this example, taken from here,
you will see that the horse's slightly more
prominent eye is on one of the intersections.
This draws your eye into the picture.

I attempted to apply the Golden Ratio, here : )
We had days last week with temps as
 low as -25 F, so I was in hunker down
mode and not sure what I was
going to use to explain ISO to
you!  I must have had good karma,
because the most lovely request
came my way on Friday.....The perfect
assignment to put ISO to the test!


Could you please shoot some 
pictures of our new candlelight
church service this Sunday night?

You can bet I didn't miss a beat
when I enthusiastically said YES!

Only later, as I realized that I've 
done very little picture-taking in
low-light situations did I say to
myself, Why did I say YES?


I was so worried that I locked
myself with camera, tripod and
 three candles in our powder 
room with the little window shade
drawn and the door shut.  There, I
fiddled with ISO for over an hour,
sure that this would enhance my
picture-taking at the church.

Here, my camera had the
ISO {dimmer} on 100, or
turned down low....

Here, my camera had the
ISO on 3200, or turned
up as high as it would go.
In this photo you can 
see more of the candle's flame
and the image is a bit crisper.

When I arrived at church for
my candlelight assignment, I was 
reminded that what our minister 
really wanted was closer shots with 
a soft background, to capture the 
warmth and intimacy of this service.

Suzanne, I'm counting on you to bring us soft backgrounds.
{No pressure or anything!}
You might remember from week one
 of Ten for Tuesdays that soft,
buttery backgrounds come from 
adjusting the camera's aperture.  
Since was shooting in a candlelight
situation, I turned my f-stop way
up, to the largest setting/fraction that
my camera would allow in Aperture
Priority.  Like shutters on a window,
I was throwing them wide open to
let in more light, while creating less
depth of field, in order to focus on
the person or object in front of the 
camera and obtain more blur 
in the background.


In the Aperture Priority setting, 
when I select the aperture, the camera 
chooses the proper shutter speed
and ISO. 


Could I have managed the low light
by manually setting the ISO?  Yes.
But I wanted to deliver that soft,
blurred background, so I chose
to manage the light by selecting a
large aperture, instead.

And don't forget....
There's always Photoshop 
to tweak those images, too : )

Have a wonderful day.
I'm posting a give away later
in the week, so please stop
by for a cup of tea....We can
chat ISO, shutter speed and
aperture, right?


PS:  Don't forget to visit my
friend, Becky
and join her Thrive Project!
You may win one of her
inspiring bracelets like the
one in my picture, above.....

Friday, January 21, 2011

Warming Up

There is nothing better than
the encouragement of a good friend.

~ Jean Jacques Rousseau

I received a text out of the blue
today from my friend Kathleen,
who has completed six months
of chemotherapy and is now
going through radiation treatments
for breast cancer.

Just remembering when I got my
diagnosis and I'm so thankful and
glad you were with me.  I'm so thankful
God blessed me with your friendship.
Love you <3

What an unexpected gift
on an extraordinarily cold, cold
Minnesota day in January ~
A long way from the hot, hot
day in Savannah, last June,
when the doctor's call came through
on K's cell, the second
day of our mini girls-getaway.

You couldn't tell how heavy our spirits were.
My heart swelled with love
and yes, warmth, when I 
read her dear words.

Every time someone leaves
me a comment or sends me
an e-mail letting me know that
they have given me a blog
award, I feel that same warmth.

But I'm bad about sharing those
awards ~ my Midwestern 
sensibilities whisper in my
ear that it's not polite
to toot your own horn!

However, as I mentioned, it's a 
frosty day here today, so
I'm pulling out those warm
thoughts to share with you.
Let's have a cup of tea and
start kindling the glow.....

The first kudos comes from the super
sweet Jeanie,  The Marmelade Gypsy.
{Thanks, Jeanie!}
It is called the Cherry on Top Award
and required me to answer this
question:  If you had the chance
to go back and change one thing in
your life, would you and what
would it be?

Yes, there is one thing.... I finished college
in three years instead of four and jumped 
right into my first career position.
I wish now that I had taken that extra
year and moved to another country
as an au pair.  I was just so type A
in those days; I didn't think I had
alternate options.  I also had a boyfriend,
{now Mr. Privet} and I was worried about
leaving him behind.  I didn't have the
wisdom to know that if it was true 
love, he'd still be here when I got back!

He's still here : )
Christmas 2010
Next to make us toasty
are warm words/awards
that require me to share seven random
things about myself.  These came from
three very lovely bloggers:
Alison, Stuff and Nonsense  ~ Versatile Blogger award
Melody- Mae, Melody-Mae and    
Stylish Blogger award
{Thanks, Ladies!}


I love to laugh.
I crave it.
I need to laugh every day!

{I said it was necessary, not pretty!  Note to self: double chin when laughing.}

I am a tall girl.
No one but me is
allowed to dry my jeans.
If you do, watch out.....
I'm very protective of those inseams.


I was once told I would
never have children
without undergoing IVF.
I changed doctors.
Different diagnosis.
Two blessings, age 15 and 12.


My dad was the oldest
of five boys and I
was the first grandchild.
My grandma was so excited
to finally have a little girl 
in the family : )


My favorite clothing color
is grey,
which I love to
accent with colorful
pieces and accessories.

My typical day look;

I am a popcorn-aholic.
I can't just eat a
handful at the movies.
I have to get the
humongous tub,
of course.


Due to military and corporate moves,
when I was in ninth grade,
 I was in my ninth school.
I graduated from that 
high school, which is in the
coldest town in the contiguous USA.
I once walked to school
when it was 30 degrees below
zero, without wind chill!

My daughter with my parent's dober-woman.
The last warm words I received
were from the wonderful Simone,
Liebster "Favorite" award ~
who simply asked that I recognize
a newer, wonderful blogger.
{Thank you, Simone!}

Since it is Friday
and she graces someone
each Friday with a flower,
I'd like to recognize 
Laura is an English rose,
married to an Australian
and now living in New Jersey.
Laura writes about her
life here in the States
with her hubby and two
little girls, from an expat's
point of view.  I love hearing
her stories of growing up
in England and the traditions,
foods, etc. that mean home
to her.  I swear, I can hear
her accent!

Be sure to stop by and
see Laura for a cup of
tea, a smile and a Friday
flower....and congratulate
her on her Liebster!
When she answers the door,
please tell her that Suzanne
from Privet & Holly sent you!

Aaahhh....I'm feeling toastier
by the moment.  Hope you
all stay cozy this weekend!
Thank you for stopping by ~
Each and every one of you
is a special gift to me and 
it is an honor to share my
ramblings with you from 
this little corner of Blog Land.

~ Gratitude ~
The state of being grateful; warm 
and friendly feeling toward a benefactor; 
kindness awakened by a favor received; thankfulness.