MouseScrappers Speed Scrap Marathon

Earlier this month, Feb 7-9 I participated in the MouseScrappers Speed Scrap Marathon.
This was my second year, seeing last year was the first time I even knew about it or MouseScrappers in general. You can read about my experience here as well as some of the prizes here from last year.

So, this year, I completed the FULL MARATHON. Yes, I write that in big letters because by the end, I wasn't sure what was what anymore and did not want to spend too much time doing anything scrapbook related for a bit. I still did some, but boy, did making 16 pages over the course of 3 days really wear on me. Maybe it was because there were requirements with each challenge like; use 3 photos, use only one photo, make a stack of 5 papers, use two plain papers and four pattern papers, make a cluster with nine items and repeat it three times, add some pixie dust and a hidden mickey. whew....that was just a sampling of some of the things I had to do.

My focus was to get some of those pictures from past vacations like in 2008 and 2009 scrapped.
Here are my pages.....

Am I happy with them all? well, maybe not. I know one page I need to change, I got the wrong kid in one of the pictures. (geez) However, some of the pages surprisingly turned out great even though I did not like the challenge thrown at me. So now, I need to go back and look at each one, perhaps have the kids look too, and see what needs to be fixed.

Here are the participation prizes.....

Here is a look at the Full Marathon Goody Bag......

I was given some nice things to be able to add to my library of Disney supplies, now I just need to get back to that park!

I also will be hosting the Templates Challenge from March 15-28, if you want to come join me.


Adam Collection

Adam's Collection
is a set of two kits all about what Adam likes to do inside and out.

Do you have children photos of playing games, doing puzzles, or building with legos?
How about photos of jumping rope, riding bikes or playing ball.

These two kits have some great elements for many play times.
They also are perfectly coordinating so you could pull them together.

Check it out. Available at Nibbles Skribbles store.

Here are a few pages for inspiration. Each page is made using each kit separately.
Made with Adam's Room kit

Made with Adam Plays Outside kit

These kits can also be bundled...look at all the goodies. 

Just a final thought....why is this called Adam's kits? Well, Adam is Nibbles Skribbles' son and he got to help decide what when into these kits. :)


AUTO awesome?

Did you know....that google will 'awesome-ize' your photos?
I did not until the other day...and I saw this.

I then saw this (my brother's house) from my posted photos....

I didn't know....now I do.

So question...do you think it is cool that this happens automatically?
Or should we have more control over or online content?


a My First Pet Collection brought to you today by

Here is a peak at our dog...when she was a puppy. 
We love her little bobbed tail.

Click here to snag this kit.


Camera ah-ha moment!

Warning...these are thoughts from my brain...a pretty basic brain, that needs pretty basic understanding. No professional understanding are involved in this post.

So you all know I shared with you last post that I have a new camera to play with. I really want to be able to take some amazing photos for me and my family to enjoy. So I have been reading and searching for info that would help. I think I've done almost everything short of paying for classes.  My photos have been kind of a "hit-and-miss, hope-and-pray, formula of exposure. Kind of like playing Pin-the-tail-on-the-Donkey." I thought if I studied other photographers and their info they shared, like what distance, aperture, shutter speed, etc, I would learn the magic formula.

Well.... I was listening to one of my podcasts, Capturing Magic, and the host was talking to a couple that loves to travel to Disney Parks and share their wonderful photos they take, as well as trip reports/reviews. The Bricker's from Disney Tourist Blog.  Now mind you, I really have not read this blog, and when I looked at it, it is not going to join my blog feed, because they travel so much and post about places I may never ever go...but want to go to. Just too overwhelming to me.

So, to get on with my story, Tom mentioned a book that he read that helped him in his photography skills. It is called "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson.
I looked it up at my library and they had it. Great!
Well, here is what I learned:
Early on in the first chapter, he said that taking a photo is all about; setting your aperture, looking in your view finder, focus on your subject, and then adjusting your shutter speed until the camera's light meter indicates a "correct" exposure. Then take your picture and you did it!


I understand what aperture is; how wide your lens opens up.
I can focus, after all most cameras auto-focus.
I know what shutter speed is; how long your shutter stays open.
BUT, what was that about a light meter?

I turned back to my camera manual and read....no light meter info.  I did see where it showed something about an exposure level indicator in a diagram, but never did it explain it to me.  I sat in my room and pondered over the thought, looked at everything....and tried pushing every button. Then I noticed one little tiny arrow....I rotated the dial, and then a line appeared, I lined it up with 0 and took a picture of my blind.....in manual mode....and it was correct!

WHAT!  Why has no one ever said anything to me about that feature. My previous camera also had a manual mode, but I could never get it to work....well, now I know why.

Check out this next image.
This is what my manual showed. When looking in the view finder, I do not see all the little green lines, only one, or an arrow indicating which way I need to adjust.
The old camera had a 0.0 and it would change to a negative or positive number showing me which way to adjust my shutter speed. I never understood why it was showing different numbers. All I know is when trying to use manual mode, my photos never worked!

Okay, I'm showing you my blinds....why? because the exposure came out right!
Crazy, but what a AH-HA moment that was.

So here is a question, "Am I the only one who has ever tried to take photos in manual mode and not know there was a meter guiding me?"  Because I feel that way.

Just a few other thoughts I want to share, or remember are:

Small aperture (F/16, F/22, F/32) are for storytelling photos, photos with great depth of field. Lots of info.
Large aperture (F/2.8, F/4, F/5.6) are for singular theme photos, or isolation. Very shallow depth of field.  This is a good area to use a telephoto lens.
Middle aperture (F/8, F/11) are for 'Who cares" photos. When it really doesn't matter what setting you use.
It is okay to use the Aperture-priority setting.  You pick the aperture, and the camera will automatically select the shutter speed.

Fast shutter speed (1/250, 1/500, 1/1,000) will freeze action. Use when close to the action.
Slow shutter speed (1/60, 1/30, 1/15) is great for panning (see my attempt here)
Super slow shutter speed (1/4, 1/2, 1) will imply motion. Use this for waterfalls.
Super super slow shutter (longer than 1 second) are good for tail light streaks.
Bulb will stay open as long as it is pressed. (gotta try this for star trails)
As well, it is okay to use the Shutter-priority setting here. You pick the shutter speed, the camera selects the aperture.

This still plays apart in digital photography, it is how sensitive the film (media) is to light.
Low ISO numbers are less sensitive, so are better in high-light settings, Big ISO numbers are more sensitive, so they are better in low light. However, the bigger the number the more noise or graininess the image will be.

I'm still working on understanding this, but using Manual focus will help in storytelling mode to make the full image in focus. That or use a distance setting, which I have NO idea about.

this is important, and I've known this for some time...I actually have the Golden Hour bookmarked, even if I don't think it is accurate for my mountainous home. :) In short, one hour after sunrise and late afternoon into the evening are best for using light in your photos. When the sun is overhead it will cause harsher shadows. Overcast skies are also good light.

This is something I think is cool. I didn't even know what the word was, but heard it plenty on the Capturing Magic Podcast.
Aperture needs to be open all the way (F/2.8) to make circles. Any smaller opening, and hexagons will appear, since the distorted light takes on the shape of the lens opening.

I mentioned earlier that using either Shutter-priority or Aperture-priority will work, but sometimes what the camera selects is not right. That is where manual is a must. An examples is taking pictures of snow.  Too much white will make the camera choose a setting that is wrong and the snow will appear gray. There are a few ways of doing this, one is to take your meter off the sky.  It is also good to take your meter reading off a field, horizon, wall, etc. Mr Peterson, author of the book above, has a fun chapter about the Sky Brothers and Mr Green Jeans. He shares that it is a good idea to try to meter the sky or the patch of green to get a correct meter reading, then focusing back on your subject and fire away, not worrying what your exposure meter is telling you.
Really quick, the times to look to the sky are, sunny days, back lit images, scenes at dusk, and along the coast (however, the watery reflection works).

OTHER IDEAS to remember:
Trying to get a photo of the Moon rising? Take it the day before the full moon.
Night photography, try keeping the ISO low to keep crisp pictures, use bulb. Bracket photos. Ex: try 2 seconds, if it is too dark, try 4 seconds, etc...
When shooting people, keep a low F# and kneel down to get a full length picture.
An idea for late dusk would be to open aperture wide open to get the meter reading (from the sky) and then changing it down to a small aperture and adjusting your shutter speed that same amount of stops.
Use a Tripod!

Here are a few picture I have taken in Manual Mode. Not the best, but I controlled everything about these shots and they look half decent.


Well, if anyone is reading to this sentence, I'm impressed...that was a lot of rambling by me. I just need my thoughts down! and hopefully they continue to help me as I learn and perhaps help someone else along the way. THANKS

Now, I'm off....it is another fee free weekend in our National Parks and I hope to be able to spend a little time there with my new knowledge.


Hello February & Canon

is the next month installment from Nibbles Skribbles' Hello 2014 collection.
Each month she will release a mini kit in the theme of the month. So of course, this month is all about LOVE and reds and pinks. However, there are enough other colors for loads of fun layouts.  You'll have to check my page out.
If you are thinking of purchasing these monthly kits, then you will want to pick up the frequent shopper card from her.  Here is what Nibbles' has to say about this collection.

"Hello 2014 will feature a mini kit and a few themed add-ons themed around each month. I will also be releasing special 'year' themed products in between! The first week of a new Hello collection, all bits will be just $1!  So, not too big or too expensive - it's just right, and I hope you love it!   Grab any of the bits for just $1 each or the bundle for $5! Don't miss out!"

Here ya go...no Valentine's photos...no problem. See how versatile this mini can be.

Which brings me to a new passion. Well, maybe a constant passion.
I have always enjoyed photography and capturing beautiful images. I just am such a novice.
This past Christmas Santa brought me a Canon Rebel. (the lens comes off ya know...kinda scary to think of the possibilities).  I know I'm silly. But I am overwhelmed with this. I have been looking up info and trying to learn what exposure/aperture/shutter speed I want to use for what elements. ...getting kinda deep for me...but I want to take beautiful pics!  So I continue to read, listen and play.

One thing I decided to do was to take my evening walks during the 'golden hour' and at sunset, with my camera in tow. Then snap away, and try things out. I'm still not getting my combination right for full manual mode, but other things are coming along.  So here are a few things I have captured.

Yep, ole Baldy himself.
We do get to see Bald Eagles about this time of year, but you never really know where they will show up...with exceptions to a few places.  This guy was just down the lane.
I did alright in the capture sans telephoto lens. Right now I have one lens...55mm is the max.

Then I did a little learning on MOTION photography. Since I wasn't getting the settings right for the time of day, I decided to give motion a go...so much room for improvement, but I LOVE these two images. 

As a family we spent a morning in Zion National Park and watched the sunrise. I did a little playing with exposures and was able to get a few 'keepers' of the sunrise. :) 

Alrighty....one more topic and this post is done.
How is your Memory Keeping goals coming along for this year?
I have printed about 50+ pages and got them in their books.
YEA! it is great to see these pages COMPLETE!

Until next time...enjoy what you do and do what you enjoy!


MOUSE MAGIC and a Little Holiday

Madness, It's Madness I tell You!!

The Speed Scrap Marathon Weekend at Mouse Scrappers is one of my favorite weekends of the year! And it is complete Madness! It's 3 days of scrapbooking madness!  And there are prizes involved too!
What? You scrapbook all weekend and come out of it with 16 AWESOME pages and prizes...Where do I sign up? Well at Mouse Scrappers of course!!
Mad for the Mouse is hosting 2 Speed Scraps this weekend, with some lovely prizes you can take home for free if you participate! And Guess what? There will even be a few extra surprises handed out if you show up to the chat! You don't want to miss it!

In case you haven't heard Mad for the Mouse has a new shop! Yay!!
And an even better surprise... it's all on SALE this weekend only!!
Friday Feb.7th to Monday Feb. 10th!

Mad for the Mouse also has a new kit in the shop today!!

And a few embellishment packs too!


Here are a few pages I made using this classic Mickey kit.
 Some of the Team members have made freebies to go with the kit too!!
You can find these magical pieces at Cheryl's Blog
Karrie's Blog,and Linda has something for you at Mad for the Mouse!!! 

At Christmastime, Mad for the Mouse released a wonderfully yummy baking kit called
I was so busy with the holidays and a huge work week I was not able to share this kit with you then. So here is a flashback to the holidays, I know you can still snag this kit for your holiday pages. It would also be great for recipe cards too.

A little inspiration....can I just say, we had a ball this year making Theme Park goodies at home.