Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Climbing Rocks – 4

Jeremiah loved climbing on the rocks. At home, he loved climbing trees. On this holiday at Plettenberg Bay, his sister, Jessica, tried to match him in bravery and agility. As we walked toward the boulders along the edge of the Indian Ocean, she ran ahead of us. We were all in good spirits. The sun was shining and all three kids were having fun exploring. Suddenly, we realized that Jessica had climbed out of site. Her brother was closest to her and realized the danger she was in before we did. He shouted in his most commanding voice for her to turn back. Thankfully, she responded quickly and came away from the danger zone. She had run onto a boulder where the waves were regularly crashing up and over. After that, she got a long lecture from us about the possibility of being swept off the rocks and out to sea.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Climbing Rocks – 3

I tried to capture an action shot of Jeremiah jumping off the rocks, but it wasn’t easy to get. My camera has a slow reaction time from when you press the button to when it actually takes the picture. I think Jeremiah had to jump four times before I got the photo below and even then he’s almost hit the ground. For this reason, I’m posting two photos today. The photo directly opposite helps to tell the story of the one below.

On my About page you can read more about me and my digital camera.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Climbing Rocks – 2

I love the composition of this photo. The kids are all doing something different, yet they’re in the same spot on the rocks. Samantha is looking especially adorable with her hands holding the rim of her sun hat. The rocks also make a stunning backdrop. I didn’t compose the shot. I just captured the moment.

Do you want to apply free and easy photo editing tools to your pictures? I used PicMonkey for this picture and the previous one. They allow me more options to adjust a technique than Picasa 3. I hardly needed to edit these. All I did was open the Exposure tool and then I had the option to choose Auto Adjust or to use the slide bars and do it myself. The options on the slide bars are: Brightness, Highlights, Shadows and Contrast. That’s it!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Climbing Rocks – 1

As I was considering the name for this new series, I first thought of Rock Climbing, but then I realized that the term rock climbing conjures up images of the very intense and death-defying sport of highly experienced rock climbers, which this is not. Let me introduce you to my rock climbers. The boy is my son, Jeremiah, and he is the eldest. The girls are my daughters, Jessica and Samantha. This photo was taken in 2003 on the beach at Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. I’m not sure what my kids enjoyed more, the rocks or the beach.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Isn’t She Lovely – 10

I took this picture of Amanda after her preschool’s Christmas concert in 2010. The parents were expected to create the outfits for their children. Amanda needed to look like an angel. I hardly did a thing and yet she looked amazing. I’m not very good in the sewing department and I’m not like the Proverbs 31 woman who made linen garments and sold them. In fact, I don’t have much patience for things like that. Amanda’s angel gown was an oversized T-shirt belonging to either me or my husband. The angel wings were butterfly wings that hung from the lights in the girl’s room and had been left behind by the previous owners. Nothing spectacular, but she was the real deal.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Isn’t She Lovely – 9

Little Amanda looking lovely in a summer dress

This photo was taken just before Amanda’s 2nd birthday. She loves getting dressed up and so she asked to wear this pretty dress just for fun. She was looking so lovely that I asked her to pose for me. It was my idea to have her stand with her back to me and to turn a bit to face the camera. I wanted to capture the bow at the back of the dress and her curly hair. Thankfully, she was willing to humor me and this was the result… a moment captured on film (or whatever they call it these days in our digital world). I liked this dress so much on her that I decided it would be the dress she wore for her 2nd birthday a few weeks later.

I recommend you read My First Cameras and how I began as an amateur photographer of which I am still today.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Isn’t She Lovely – 8

Little Amanda against a brick background

In the last photo Amanda was wearing something from her grandma and in this photo the Snoopy top is a hand-me-down from another child. I thought it looked so cute on her that I had to take this picture. When I found out I was pregnant with Amanda, one of my concerns for having another child was the need for clothing. I’ve written about this in the post "Dora the Explorer." With all the pictures I have of her, it’s obvious that she has been well taken care of.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Isn't She Lovely – 7

Amanda was given this Minnie Mouse by her step-grandma who is married to my dad. It was featured in an earlier series where Amanda was sleeping in her crib and cuddling with it. The dress, which just so happens to match, was given by her other grandma (my mom). Her third grandma is my mother-in-law. My kids are very lucky to have three grandmas who are healthy, happy and loving. All three women love the Lord too.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Isn’t She Lovely – 6

Here are two more photos of Amanda at the Cape Town Scratch Patch. I loved the painted mineshaft background and miner’s car full of gemstones, so I took the opportunity and placed Amanda in it. She had a lot of fun with the multi-colored stones and I’m glad that I captured her enjoyment with my digital camera.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Isn’t She Lovely – 5

We took Amanda to see real gemstones at the Scratch Patch in Cape Town when she was a year old. Here she is showing me one of her treasures. In her little hand is just one of many tumble polished gemstones that cover the floor of the Scratch Patch. The best part about visiting the place is that she could fill her little bag with the gems that she collected to take home with her and it was inexpensive.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Isn’t She Lovely – 4

Here is Amanda again on our path happily enjoying the stones around her. This is actually an earlier photo of her. She’s not yet one year old. Our neighbor’s garden made a pretty backdrop. The outfit was given to us from friends of my in-laws. It was bought at a boutique shop in Cape Town, so it was very special.

In the Bible, Jesus mentioned the stones along the path at the time of his triumphal entry to Jerusalem. I thought to share the interesting comment that Jesus made to the critics of his day, the Pharisees.

From the International Standard Version:

Luk 19:37 He was now approaching the descent from the Mount of Olives. The whole crowd of disciples began to rejoice and to praise God with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen.
Luk 19:38 They said, "How blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!"
Luk 19:39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, tell your disciples to be quiet."
Luk 19:40 He replied, "I tell you, if they were quiet, the stones would cry out!"

Monday, May 14, 2012

Isn’t She Lovely – 3

I think I should have done a series on Amanda and her love of stones. One day, Amanda was playing with stones and I found some in her mouth, so I had her spit them out. I then picked her up and we were headed home in our car, my husband was driving, when she began to make a choking noise. I stuck my finger in her mouth and discovered some more small stones. I couldn’t believe it, but she had kept a couple of stones in the sides of her cheeks and had hidden them there.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Isn’t She Lovely – 2

Amanda loved playing with the stones on our path. The stones were a wonderful distraction. I just had to be careful that she didn’t put them in her mouth. That was the hard part. This set of photos is about capturing the moment.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Isn’t She Lovely – 1

The name for this series is, of course, inspired by the hit song “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder, which he wrote about his precious daughter. Just as Stevie celebrated his child through a song, I’m celebrating Amanda through the photographs I post of her on this blog. I also celebrate her on my inspirational parenting blog Amanda’s Books and More that I began in honor of her. I have three older children who also get featured on my blogs and who I admire and enjoy watching as they grow into young adults.

In this set of photographs, Amanda is a year old. Her happy smile has warmed so many people’s hearts. I really like how the shadows crisscross against her and the wall, making these pictures unique.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother’s Day Card – 4

This is my last card that I’m posting in this series. There is only one other special mom in my life and for her I made this Mother’s Day card and that is my mother-in-law. She is a very talented woman and has more energy than most people, even as a grandmother. We will be spending Mother’s Day with her and my father-in-law at our house this Sunday. Everyone is looking forward to it. I never have to stress about the food, which is a blessing for me, because she was a chef of her own restaurant and still has a passion for cooking and baking. I’ll be making an amazing looking cheese cake that I saw on and my mother-in-law will be bringing a chocolate mousse cake.

The flower was painted by me, another watercolor idea from a Google search. I used orange card and added a strip of gold card for that bit of shine. The sticker border wasn’t long enough so I added a join. The trick is to cut it at an angle, which makes the join less visible. The lettering came from my first scrapbooking kit by Memories Direct.

I hope you and your kids are having fun making your own Mother’s Day cards. Have a great Mother’s Day on Sunday with your families! Oh, and don't forget to check out my poetry blog Consider the Lilies for some great Mother's Day poems. Come back tomorrow for a whole new series of fantastic photos!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mother’s Day Card – 3

As you can see by the cards in my previous two posts, there is nothing complicated or difficult about these Mother’s Day cards. They are easy and fun to make and can be used simply as ideas for the kids. I made this card for my step-mom and mailed it the same day as my mom’s one. She’s a lovely lady and a good influence in my dad’s life. She’s the kind of woman that I’d happily spend more time with. Unfortunately, I live too far away.

Yesterday, I mentioned my childhood fascination for stickers. Stickers were to me like stamps are to a young stamp collector. I loved them and could look at them for hours (or almost, anyway). Once I was all grown up I thought that I’d have to set aside my childish love and I did for a time. Scrapbooking brought the passion back into my life. Why am I saying so much about stickers? Well, this card is decorated with a lot of them. The borders and letters are all stickers and, of course, the butterfly. They are great to work with, because I hardly needed scissors or glue with this card and, in my opinion, using them did not turn this card tacky as one might think. In fact, I’m very pleased with the result.

I used scrapbook paper for the stripes. It’s one sheet cut to size. The yellow stripe down the left-hand side of the card is the actual card itself. I left it showing through on purpose. The watercolor flowers were painted by me; however, it is not an original work. Just like yesterday’s one, I got the idea through a Google search.

Don’t forget to check out my Mother’s Day poems at Consider the Lilies. Here’s a list of the ones I’ve already posted, but I’ll post at least on more before Sunday.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mother’s Day Card – 2

This Mother’s Day card is already on its way to the U.S.A. and its recipient is my mom. There’s a good chance that it won’t arrive in time, because I only mailed it on Tuesday. That’s why I don’t mind if she sees what it’s going to look like ahead of time, that is if she looks at my blog post before Sunday.

This year I decided to add a small watercolor painting made by me instead of a recycled picture from a card. That is one of the best things about card making and scrapbooking, all the recycled pictures, papers and other bits and pieces. Nothing gets wasted. I used to throw little scraps of colored paper away, but not anymore. A small scrap can make a perfect background for a few letters, like this blue piece of paper with “MOM” on it. I like shiny stuff, so I added blue glitter.

Now back to the watercolor painting, although painted by me, it is not an original. I love being creative, but I’m not very good at drawing pictures from my head. In fact, I’m really bad at it. I do alright if there is a photograph or something to look at. In this case, I took the easiest option. I Googled “watercolor flowers” and found a long list of images and then printed a few, so this card and the next two cards that I’m going to post were painted after pictures from the internet.

I also added blue ribbon and a butterfly sticker. Since I was a kid, I’ve loved stickers, but I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mother’s Day Cards – 1

I live far away from my mom. Sometimes I send her a carefully chosen e-card for a special occasion, but usually I like to use the postal service so that she can have a real card to display on her mantel as a daily reminder that she is loved. This picture is a scanned image of her last year’s Mother’s Day card. I made it using a favorite photo from a card that I had received, different colored papers, cardboard, ribbon and other small pieces. It’s just the same as scrapbooking, a hobby that I can lose myself in for hours. In fact, the letters that spell “MOM” are from my first scrapbooking kit by Memories Direct. The link shows something similar to what I bought several years ago here in South Africa.

Mother's Day poems by me:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Amanda Sleeping – 4

This is a very recent photo of Amanda and my last one in this series. I used PicMonkey to edit this picture. They keep adding new features. One of them is Photo Corners and I used that application here. It gives my photo that scrapbooking look. In a sense, my photography blog is my digital scrapbook. All of PicMonkey’s features are free at the moment, so now is a great time to give PicMonkey a try. I’m very happy with my font in Picasa 3 for this blog and so I used theirs, although PicMonkey has really cool font applications to choose from.

Here is the image cropped with no photo editing. She looks like a sleeping angel. Which of these two images is your favorite? The question: to edit or not to edit. I’d love to hear from you. Also, make sure you check out my parenting blog at Amanda’s Books and More where you’ll find lots of fun things to read and be inspired.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Amanda Sleeping – 3

I took this photo this year of Amanda sleeping. It’s quite an unusual picture, but it’s a typical scene in Amanda’s life. With this picture, I’ve captured a moment that tells a story. I used this photo along with another one of her on my post “Broken, but Precious” on Amanda’s Books and More. It’s an inspirational post about her love for this broken Baby Born, which was passed down from her big sister, Jessica. In it I mention Bethany Hamilton, the girl surfer whose arm was bitten off by a shark.

In this picture it looks like she was wearing pink eye shadow, which wouldn’t have been unusual of her as she plays with make-up often. If you look closely, you will see a little red book tucked underneath her. She loves taking books to bed at naptime and at bedtime. I usually have to move them away once she’s fast asleep.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Amanda Sleeping – 2

I used to get upset when my roll of film was developed and the colors came out wrong. Some shops developed your film using the right “mix” for the type of film it was. For example, Kodak film got a different treatment to Fuji film. I was otherwise at the mercy of whoever developed my film. All of that has changed now with the digital world we live in. I don’t have to get upset, because I can use either Picasa or PicMonkey for free and change my colors all I want. Today I’m posting an unedited image and an edited image and you can see for yourself the difference between the two.

This picture of Amanda sleeping was taken in 2011. She arranged her dolls like that with her favorite broken Baby Born swaddled up and Piglet. To me it looks as if she was one of the dolls, she’s so cute.

Related stories:

Friday, May 4, 2012

Amanda Sleeping – 1

A child sleeping peacefully is a moment worth capturing on film. An image like this one has the sweetest appeal. Just be careful about the flash going off as it can wake the sleeping child, which you might regret later. I used a flash with this one, but thankfully it didn’t bother her.

Amanda was a year old when I took this photo of her. The bedding in her crib had baby Mickey, Minnie and Pluto on it. Here she’s cuddling a Minnie Mouse that’s almost the same size as her. She loved to sleep with her dolls. Often I’d find her buried beneath a pile of them and fast asleep, so I’d have to rearrange them ever so carefully not to disturb her.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Simplicity – 14

This is my last post that I’ll be doing in this series. This has been an experiment with Picasa 3, which is free desktop software that runs on Windows, and it has been quite a journey. I think this is a great photo editing tool to finish off with. I love the dynamic and modern twist that it gives my image. I used Posterize, which has 3 slide-bars, namely Number of Colors, Detail and Fade. I adjusted all 3 of these until I was satisfied with the result.

Just because I decided to stop at this point doesn’t mean that I used up all the editing tools that Picasa 3 has to offer. There are still more to choose from, so check them out and have fun editing your images. I’m really looking forward to hearing from you so please leave a comment below stating which your favorite one in this series was. Stay tuned tomorrow for a brand new series.

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