Wednesday, June 30, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 30: Mission Completed!

First off, let me just say that being creative for 30 straight days has been a challenge. We have certainly enjoyed participated in a community effort and getting new inspirations and ideas from others. This is something that we will continue to do.

We've come to realize that it's not too hard to do at least one thing creative a day. The hard part comes with finding the motivation to post something about it. This is where the daily challenge has presented itself. Sometimes all you want to do after a day of work is relax. This is not to say that it is that hard to take some time to take pictures and write.

I've learned that I need to be better at dedicating time everyday to being creative. This involves keeping my eyes and ears open and to invite the opportunity to learn and try new things.

Hope that this challenge is only the beginning of our creative journey. (With that said: We may take a short break from posting daily. We'd like to establish a schedule we can stick to.)

So here is our last contribution, we just got the film from yesterday's photo walk (we'll post some more as soon as I scan them)

30 Days of Creativity - Day 30: Mission Completed!

Peace, Love and Happiness. Congrats for being a dedicated creative for 30 straight days!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 29: Salmorejo

We are still working through our tomatoes from our recent trip to the Maxwell Street Market. (Planning to restock our fridge with fresh produce this weekend.)

30 Days of Creativity - Day 29: Salmorejo

Here's a salmorejo (thick gazpacho) from an authentic Spaniard (pm):

+6-7 ripe tomatoes
+ 1/2 c olive oil
+ 3 garlic cloves
+ splash of vinegar
+ 1 cucumber
+ 1/2 baguette (soak in water beforehand to soften; strain water)
+ dash of salt
+ other vegetables as desired (carrots are good!)

Blender and puree everything together. Let it sit overnight in the fridge to absorb all flavors. Garnish with hard-boiled eggs and jamon serrano (or prosciutto where jamon serrano is not available). Tuna works well too.

And that's all for today folks. We're signing off early. Que aproveche!

Monday, June 28, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 28: Beach Time

30 Days of Creativity - Day 28: Lake Michigan Fisheye

Today we're feeling a little melancholic. We just spent an amazing weekend on the northwestern coast of Michigan camping at Orchard Lake State Park with some of our nearest and dearest Michigander pals. The park was much nicer than we had expected; and although the sites were very close together and weren't especially private, it worked out just fine.

The weather cooperated. We got to yell at kids that weren't ours to get out of our campsite. We ate what I swear to be the world's largest marshmallows. We spent an entire day on the sandy beach. And, we had fun. All in all, it was a wonderful trip. I've got to say though, it sure was hard to make the trek back on Sunday. I needed at least one more day of complete relaxation. (An easy task when no cell phone carrier has service.)

This photo was shot during our day at the beach with our fisheye lens. Just looking at it makes me want another day at beach with good company.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 27: Happy Birthday to Me

Yep. Today's my birthday. Not quite sure what the celebration will entail for the day just yet, but whatever it is I am excited for it. I like to try to do something fun and different for my birthday every year; otherwise, it just feels like I am getting older or like any other ordinary day.

I wanted to highlight one of my favorite cakes for my post today: Angel food cake. I know I mentioned in a past post that I have a summer birthday and we always made homemade ice cream. To compliment the ice cream I almost always requested angel food cake. As I have gotten older I have learned that sometimes the best angel food cakes happen to be the ones that are layered with sorbet. I am partial to mango and raspberry.

So cheers to me and another year. I am very excited for what it will bring.

Angel Food cake

Here's a recipe for angel food cake from Alton Brown. (Mine didn't use quite so many egg whites, but also didn't look as fluffy when complete.)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 26: Night Vision

Night vision

It's been awhile since I've posted a song to a post. This night shot got me thinking about R.E.M., and specifically Night Swimming. Love that song! (While this is an urban shot, and night swimming in my mind usually involves a rural location, it still reminds me of it. Not sure why, but it does.)

I am hoping to get some night swimming in soon. Maybe even tonight if I'm lucky.

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night/
The photograph on the dashboard, taken years ago,/
Turned around backwards so the windshield shows/
Every streetlight reveals the picture in reverse/
Still, it's so much clearer/
I forgot my shirt at the water's edge/
The moon is low tonight

Friday, June 25, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 25: Positive Negative

Positive negative

Couldn't resist posting this one. I also could not resist posting it almost as is. It came out looking like a direct positive, and that is exactly how the light was outside that night. We've been having some crazy summer weather lately. In fact just this week at 9 p.m. is was light outside with a rainbow in view. (Wish we would have gotten photos of that...)

Although I wish I could have gotten the photo of lightning striking both the Hancock Tower and Sears (Willis) Tower. Check this one out - it is amazing! Glad I was safe at home though for this storm because it was a nasty one.

I find that it isn't very often that a digital image comes out exactly how you think it will. I seem to have better luck with film being more accurate to "real life." Am I the only one this happens to? Maybe it's because I am not an early-adopter with everything. I really enjoy film. It's always a mystery what will come out. Rather than shooting 10 shots of the same thing until it turns out just right you have to be more precise from the beginning.

Off to shoot some more photos. Happy weekend!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 24: Poladroid

30 Days of Creativity - Day 24: Chicago Skyline

We have been really enjoying the Poladroid free application. We used it for our logo and we've used it for other pictures too. While it is not a real Polaroid, it does the trick and we like the vintage look of the pictures and the ease of use. We have some unused real Polaroid film - it is actually the very small size for the i-zone camera and very expired- we will be posting some pictures soon as soon as I scan them.

This photo makes me proud to say this is my city. I am going on 7 months here and pm is going on 10! Time sure flies when you are having fun. We've still got a lot of exploring to do, but we're starting to know our way up from down.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 23: Milwaukee Art Museum

We just got the roll we shot last weekend in Milwaukee from Walgreens. We used our Minolta Maxxum 70 with a 50mm f1.7. This camera is a joy to use and we got it for peanuts in ebay about a year ago. I guess nobody wants film cameras anymore - lucky us! The MAM (Milwaukee Art Museum) was just the perfect subject.

30 Days of Creativity - Day 23: Milwaukee Art Museum

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 22: Relax, have a homebrew

We are just enjoying one of our latest beer creations. Our "White Tea Steam" beer recipe is based on the "The sun has left us on time" steam beer from "The new complete joy of Home brewing". The change we made was adding 1 gallon of steeped white tea (that looks anything but white) and 1 1/2 lbs. of honey, just to offset the bitterness of the tea.

30 Days of Creativity - Day 22: Relax, have a homebrew

So here is the recipe:

- 2 oz. White Tea Garden Aria from Teavana boiled in 1 Gallon of water.
- 1 1/2 Lbs. Honey
- 7 1/2 Lbs. Light Malt Extract
- 1/2 Lb. Crystal Malt
- 1 Oz. Northern Brewers Hops (added while boiling)
- 1/2 Oz. Cascade Hops (Finishing)
- Lager Yeast

The beer came out really good, it is a good summer beer, similar in taste to an Steam, but with a rather fruity aftertaste. It's also got a very fruity aroma.

We are thinking of brewing a Heffeweizen as soon as we have time. First we need to bottle our Dunkelweizen. For the Heffy we are thinking of using tea, and maybe some fruit... stay tuned ;)

Monday, June 21, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 21: Summer Storm

Happy First Day of Summer! It's been a very busy last week of travels and changes.

This past week got me thinking about all the things that define summer. Ice cream naturally is on that list, but it goes far beyond that. It includes lake swimming, camp fires, night walks, fireworks and thunderstorms.

I just got back from northern Wisconsin, which got me thinking about summer. One of my dear pals and I took a bread making class (of which I plan to post on later this week complete with photos and recipe) and had the joy of feeling like we were living in the early 1900's. The class was at a b&b that was designed from antique store finds from this period. Amazing.

30 Days of Creativity - Day 21: Summer storm

Anyway, the point I wanted to make it that less than a decade ago a tornado went right through this couple's property and demolished their barn and lot. Summer storms often bring on tornadoes. We almost got our very own taste of this natural disaster.

Just so happens that the power went off and a tornado warning was issued just as our class was ending. If I know anything - I don't want to be anywhere near where a natural disaster strikes. But.... The views of the storm from this house/lot were incredible. I couldn't help snapping photos and then driving away only to pull over and take more photos. No tornado came. *whew.

30 Days of Creativity - Day 21: Summer storm

Let's hope for no more warnings this summer, and instead just unlimited lemonade, s'mores and grilled meat. No more putting my life on the line in the name of creativity. :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 20: I < 3 Dads!

Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there. It's hard to imagine where we'd be without ours. We're going to keep this post short and sweet because we've got to get to family time. This family time will include slow cooked ribs and homebrews, so I think that you can understand why we're trying to get out the door as fast as we can. Off to the city...

Big city, small world #2

Congrats to everyone out there who is participating in 3o Days of Creativity. We're almost to the finish line. Only 10 more days lie ahead. We're trying to think of the next challenge for us as we move into another month. Sadly I don't think we are going to get to everything on our "to-do" list, but the great thing about that is it will keep us busy for the months to come. (And naturally, we'll be adding to it.)

Hope your grill is fired up and that you're going to enjoy the day ahead of us as much as we will.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 19: Camera Fun

30 Days of Creativity - Day 19: Camera Fun

I am reminded of the Little Mermaid and the classic song Kiss the Girl with this photo. Ah, what a classic movie and what a beautiful day to take a walk along the lakefront. We are so happy that although it has been balmy the sun has been out. We've been waiting for this for far too long!

One thing summer always brings is love out in the open. You don't walk around in the winter seeing people holding hands, hugging and kissing on the streets as much as you do in the summertime. Summer is the season for love - old and new. It's also a time to enjoy the great outdoors with friends and family -- the people we love most.

We took a roll on our Supersampler today and this was one of the best shots that came out. We've got to work on focusing the frame on people's faces better than their torsos. Hopefully our next go around will be better aimed.

You know that she's a relative of mine as her tongue is out in this photo. This is one thing I started to notice often of myself in photos is when I don't know how to pose (or I just don't want to smile) I always stick my tongue out. :P

Friday, June 18, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 18: Blackberry Gelato

I'd like to believe that you have all been waiting patiently to hear about how our homemade gelato came out. Before I get into those details let me just say - I am not longer to refer to this creation as gelato. It's custard. I don't think that gelato uses so much creme and whole milk.

I could be wrong, but personally I consider gelato to be "more healthy" than custard or ice cream. Maybe because it's an Italian thing. Or maybe just because I'd like to believe that this delicious treat is indeed healthy. It's got calcium right?

30 Days of Creativity - Day 18: Blackberry Gelato

The anticipation is over. This custard turned out AMAZING. I was so surprised with how creamy and fruity it tastes. We'll be eating it for some time to come - as it made much more than I anticipated.

Here is the recipe that we used:

1 c sugar
3 c whole milk (eeks!)
1 c whipping cream (double eeks!)
6 egg yolks (!)
1 t vanilla
3 cartons of frozen blackberries

Put sugar in sauce pan. Stir in milk, cream and egg yolks. Heat and stir until mixture thickens. Add vanilla once mixture thickens.

Place sauce pan in ice water. Let cool and stir occasionally. Chill mixture in fridge overnight.

The next morning thaw out blackberries. Blend berries together until smooth. Be sure use A SIEVE to remove the seeds. (I forgot to do this step out of excitement). Then stir the blackberry puree into the chilled custard mixture. Put mixtures in containers of choice (old ice cream tubs work great :)) and freeze. Then ENJOY!

We will continue to enjoy this treat. I am already hoping to make another batch. Maybe strawberry this time. Or lemon. Or peach. Or something. It'll have to be a smaller batch.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 17: I Heart Beer

I heart beer. There I said it. Perhaps it has to do with the fact I grew up in the beer capital of the States. Yep, I said it again. Milwaukee is, and will forever be, the beer capital of the world. Don't hate me. I speak the truth. (Although I may admit, I am biased).

beer (1 of 1)

Back to our love of beer. Part of the reason I think I like is so much is because we make our own. I really enjoy the process and experimenting with different recipes and ingredients. This has kind of made us - dare I say - beer snobs. And yes, we know it.

So why beer? Well ... There is no other beverage I can think of that has so much versatility. It can be light, dark, full-bodied, fruity, potent, creamy, tart...etc. You get the point. Beer can be anything you want it to be.

We are learning this more and more as we progress through our homebrews. It is through this hobby that I have really come to appreciate microbreweries. (This is not to say that I did not value their products before.) I have learned that while it is not hard to make beer, it does take a true craftsperson to make a unique one. So cheers to all you homebrewers out there.

(I should also say that I am going to continue to experiment with homemade "print-making." It's been a fun ride thus far. Now we just need to sharpen our exacto knife blades!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 16: Millennium Park

30 Days of Creativity - Day 16: Millennium Park

Today we spent the evening taking pictures while walking around Millennium Park, which is a pretty miserable place during winter but also an awesome place during summer. We enjoyed watching little children playing in the Crown Fountain and the live music at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

30 Days of Creativity - Day 16: Millennium Park

We will be posting more pictures from our Supersampler as soon as we scan them, Walgreens rarely does a good job scanning film from it and most of the pictures are not framed correctly :P. We have a couple more photography projects on the works that will be sharing with you soon, so stay tuned!

Random Baking Desire. 100th Post!

I don't know if there has ever been a time in my "baking" life that I have ever wanted for a recipe to turn out as badly as I do now.

If you know me then you know that I am a huge lover of ice cream. If I had to choose one thing to eat for the rest of my life I think it would be ice cream. My parents have an ice cream maker, and since I have a birthday in the summer I always requested that we made the ice cream. I loved churning it, sprinkling in the salt, and ultimately eating the final product.

We do not have an ice cream maker. I guess I should have thought of that when we did our wedding registry. Oh well. The other day I made custard over the stove top. I also blended a portion of our blackberry load in order to make it a blackberry gelato. It is now in the freezer waiting for judgement day. I am hoping that tonight we get to judge if it turned out well or not. (I did sample it, and if it tastes anything like the sample we will be in business).

Patience is a virtue. Patience is a virtue. But can't the freezer freeze any faster? Come on!

Also - today we are celebrating our 100th post!! Woot woot. Any words of wisdom of what you'd like to see / hear more of? We're taking orders. :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 15: Leather Wallet

Congratulations to everyone participating in 30 Days of Creativity. We made it - we're halfway there! And, if you're me - the glass is still looking half full.

I still have plenty of ideas for upcoming posts and projects. In fact, I recently made a list. This list has certainly helped on some of those days when we're just not feeling creative.

30 Days of Creativity - Day 15: Leather Wallet

I wanted to do something crafty again for today's post. As you can see, I made a leather wallet. This is just a prototype. If I had decided to use a different thread color maybe pm could be using this instead of me. (Or maybe I did it that way on purpose :)).I am hoping that it holds up well and doesn't need too many design changes. If that is the case, then you'll see these on our Etsy page. It's gotta pass the test of durability first though.

Happy Creating to everyone. Let's hope for sunshine tomorrow!

Monday, June 14, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 14: Cowabunga!

One of our weekly dinner staples is pizza. It was nice to have today's inspiration of 30 Days of Creativity to be pizza. We killed two birds with one stone today then. The stone happened to be our dearly beloved pizza stone.

30 Days of Creativity - Day 14: Cowabunga!

To our defense, it has been awhile since we have made a homemade pizza. Lately when we got to Trader Joe's to buy the dough they are out. For all ya'll who like pizza and hate waiting for the homemade dough to rise, TD's is the BEST place to go. Too bad they discontinued their garlic herb dough. Oh well.

That's all for today kids. It's Monday. bleh.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 13: Tomato & Blackberry Overload

Today has been a day of really having to s t r e t c h our creativity in the kitchen. Allow me to explain.

In the winter we went to Maxwell Street Market and were not very impressed (refer to post here). We went again today and our opinion has done a complete 180. A complete 180. I am not even going to get into the crazy deals we scored today - even if I really want to. (By the way, I have learned that it's a Midwestern thing to always want to share our good deal stories with others. For example: "That's a cute shirt." How do I always want to respond? "Thanks. I got it on clearance for $$$ at xxx.").

I digress. Back to the market.

Next time we go we are bringing a suitcase. We bought a box of tomatoes and a box of blackberries for $10. To put this into perspective - we have at least 10 pounds of tomatoes and 12 packs of blackberries. A ridiculous deal? I think so. Our challenge since we have been home is being creative with how we are going to use all this produce before it goes bad. (Naturally, we will be freezing lots of tomatoes.)

30 Days of Creativity - Day 13: Tomato & Blackberry Overload

I have decided to conquer the blackberries. I have worked through 6 packs already on various baked goods. I will write more about those tomorrow and they all need a day to set. Pm has been responsible for the tomatoes (with some help from yours truly). Tonight's menu will consist of rustic tomato soup. The recipe below is from the Big Food cookbook by Elissa Altman. We will certainly be making some gazpacho with these tomatoes too.

Big Food Rustic Tomato Soup Recipe (ampm style)

1/4 c olive oil
1 c baby carrots (diced)
1 large yellow onion (peeled & diced)
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 c fresh tomatoes (peeled, seeded & chopped w/ liquid) ~12 tomatoes
1 c chicken stock
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 T dried basil leaves
salt & pepper to taste

Heat oil and add carrot and onion. Cook until softened. Add garlic, stir and cook for 3 mins. Add tomatoes and juice and cook until they fall apart. Add stock, cover and simmer for 10 mins. Add basil, cover and continue to simmer for 20 mins. Season accordingly. Serve hot. [Note: We will be blending the soup before serving.]

I better get back in the kitchen and help. Que Aproveche! (We'll post a picture later on Flickr of our final product.)

And as promised here's the soup :)

Tomato Soup

Saturday, June 12, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 12: Lego Magic

Just because you have a busy day doesn't mean you can't take a few minutes to do something creative. Cue my day.

Yesterday we picked up this little Lego dude. We wanted to get the Zombie, but we got the magician instead. Oh well. There are plenty of creative things that we can do with him... In this shot he's asking for the rain to stop coming down on the weekends. No more water Saturdays through Sundays. Gotta it?

30 Days of Creativity - Day 12: Lego Magic

Other than magician photography it was a very busy day. Started off with a trip to the Green City Market. Sad to admit that my hesitancy to buy immediately before first checking out all the vendors did not pay off. I left before making any purchases on various veggies as to avoid getting bathed in the rain. Bummer. Next week I'll be back (I hope) with the sunshine.

Happy to see the U.S. tie in the game against England in their debut World Cup game. Sad that their only goal was a complete gift. The only way to celebrate that fortunate / unfortunate "victory" was with ribs at Ribfest. And naturally, more rain.

Friday, June 11, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 11: Brew Day

A marvelous day. The laundry is done and a batch of beer has been brewed all before noon. Score!

Brew Day

We have been slacking lately on our homebrewing. Mostly because some of our gear is at my parent's house, and also because our apartment has been hot. It seemed to have cooled off in the last week, so we figured we had better take advantage of the situation before it's too late. After all, this dunkelweizen could be our last brew for the summer. (*sigh)

30 Days of Creativity - Day 11: Brew Day

We are in love with the Northern Brewer kits. We got this kit at their Milwaukee location; it was affordable and an extremely easy recipe. If you are a first-timer, I would highly recommend using this kit. When we first started brewing we used some really funky kits. The beer was horrible. We've advanced since then - thank goodness!

While we admit not a whole lot of creativity went into this recipe (as we followed it verbatim), that is not normally how we roll. We've been really into doing tea beers lately, and are hoping to do one more of those before it gets too hot to turn our stove on. [Our last brew - a white tea steam beer - turned out delicious.]

So here's to homebrewing and the weekend. Prost!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 10: Mini Origami

So today we thought about posting a collage made with our Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim... However, the pictures didn't come out as we expected; I guess that's what happens when you get ultra cheap film. *sigh

30 Days of Creativity - Day 10: Mini Origami

Anyway, we decided to do some origami to relax, and this one is the smallest bird I could make, (look at the quarter for a size comparison). If you'd like to do one like this, you can find the instructions here.

May try to use the Vivitar again tomorrow, probably with a different film.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 9: Card Cutout

The other day I mentioned I had more paper than I know what to do with. That is, obviously, still the case. However, I wanted to try to challenge myself to think of different things to do with this paper. I did a handful of things today (mostly involving my stacks of paper), of which one was successful. Just as the Twitter roll for #30daysofcreativity says (via @createstuff) "Life is trying things to see if they work.” – Ray Bradbury. I did just that today. Try, try and try again.

I have been attempting to do a tutorial for a string ornament for months. I cannot seem to perfect it; and, as much as I hate to admit it, I don't think that tutorial will be up anytime soon. I'll find something else to do instead though, no worries.

30 Day of Creativity - Day 10: Card cutout

So what did I do? I made this cute card cutout. I am planning to make others as well, as they are great thank you/blank cards for future use. Time to sharpen the exacto knife and get back to it. This little project reminded me of one of my elementary art school classes. We made a stained glass "window" out of different cuts of colored paper. I remember that I made a dolphin. Oh yeah.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 8: Sweet Tooth

My KitchenAid has been lonely. My palette has been craving something sweet. The solution: Cupcakes! I almost made my "go-to" recipe: One Bowl Chocolate Cake, but instead decided to make my cupcakes from a simple yellow cake recipe. The result, you guessed it -- delicious.

30 Days of Creativity - Day 8: Sweet Tooth

Now that it is summer I am eager to try out new dessert recipes. Cakes with ice cream, tarts with fresh fruit...etc. Since we're new to the 'hood we still have to discover all the great farmers' markets and orchards. We are planning to so check me of this over the weekend.

Anyway, a short post from us today. We don't want to delay eating these delights!

Here's the recipe:
Set oven to 375 degrees. Bake 15 minutes or until golden around edges.

3/4 c butter
3 eggs
2 1/2 c flour
2 1/2 c baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 1/4 c milk (or as I do it: one yogurt and 1/2 c milk)
+ I would have added orange/lemon zest to this if we would have had it at home. Darn!

Monday, June 7, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 7: Billfold

30 Days of Creativity - Day 7: Billfold

Happy One Week of Creating! It was high time the sewing machine came out for creative uses. I made a bunch of these billfolds (which were on our Etsy shop and more will be posted soon) awhile back.

Under normal circumstances I would not say that I have a "hoarding problem"; although, when it comes to paper, I will admit that I do. I have so much paper that I am no longer sure what to do with it all. (That said, I am open to ideas!).

The idea of making sewn billfolds came to me at a time when I was in the market for a new wallet. That said, I do not like wallets and I never have. I am also not a purse person. I like to carry the bare minimum around with me when I go out. This is how I got the idea to make a paper billfold. My sewn billfolds can only 4-5 cards at a time without overexerting the snap. Perfect for me - I can carry my drivers license, credit cards, insurance information and cash. I like being able to have this with me and use it regularly because it reminds me that I am creative and has proven to be a great conversation starter.

I have revamped my design a bit. I used two different types of paper for this one. The inside is lined with a textured stock paper and for the outer layer I used a silver water-repelling paper. Since I changed up the design a bit, I am going to add a velcro strip instead of a snap. I'm glad I made one today - I needed a new one :).

Sunday, June 6, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 6: Flores

30 Days of Creativity - Day 6: Flores

For our lack of an outdoor garden, it was necessary to create our own indoor garden. A very easy project - all that you need are paper, scissors and a stapler. I opted for more muted toned paper, but using colorful paper remnants would give that garden some extra punch. I plan to make more of these little fellows throughout the week.

I absolutely love gardens. The closest we have ever come to having a real garden has consisted of filling our window sills with planters. It's been successful thus far, and lucky for us our last couple of apartments have had great natural light and deep window sills.

Our indoor garden update for the day involved our aloe vera plant. I transferred a shoot from our larger aloe plant to a pot today. I am hoping that it continues to grow roots and makes it. [Judging by how burned my shoulders are today from a morning stroll I may be in need of some aloe soon.]

Saturday, June 5, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 5: Fly Away

30 Days of Creativity - Day 5: Fly Away

This may be a first; we're posting something on the weekend. It's funny because I just recently started to notice that we tend to post updates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It's not that we take a break from being creative on the weekend, it's just that the weekends are always so busy. So busy, sometimes, that we forget to post anything.

Here are some photos from our most recent 30 Days of Creativity project. Pm got this toy airplane kit from a recent conference. It has been sitting around for ages and we weren't doing anything with it or giving it away to anyone. I had some fun and painted it pretty and am looking forward to a sunny day so I can take it out for a spin.

View these photos on Flickr here, here and here.

Hope you enjoy the process. We're hoping to post some flying photos soon too.

Friday, June 4, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 4: Manual focus lenses on DSLRs

Last night we decided to go for a stroll around Hamlin Park and took our Olympus e510 with an old Olympus OM 50mm f1.8 (the "Made in Japan" one, which is supposedly the sharpest version of this lens). Focusing with a manual focus lens on a modern DSLR can be quite a challenge, especially if, like us, you can only afford the entry level model. Because of the digital sensor size, the mirror on this cameras is smaller and therefore what you see through the viewfinder is smaller. Using a magnifying finder helps a lot.

swings (1 of 1)

We love Hamlin Park during the summer and the fact that is so close to where we live. It's fun to see lots of little kids learning how to play baseball with their parents. This park is one of our favorite after work walk destinations.

We've also been taking more pictures with our old cameras, right now there is a roll of film in both our Olympus OM-10 and our Kiev 6C (in this case it's one that is really expired). We also always carry the DSRL with us. You can't beat the instant gratification that digital provides, especially when with film you have to wait at least a couple days to get film developed, and then spend the time scanning it.

expiredfilm (1 of 1)

Anyways we have a couple of projects going on for this weekend, we want to decorate some vinyl toys, an airplane and maybe we'll brew some dunkelweizen beer, so stay tuned!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 3: Photo mosaic


Day 3: Photo mosaic
This mosaic looks better in the larger size.

I have been putting off working on this mosaic for far too long. This project is not over yet, but I at least wanted to get a start on it. I am making a point to photograph fire hydrants in the cities that I visit. Someday I hope to have a poster size of all the different colors and designs.

I've been amazed by just how many non-red fire hydrants are on the streets. Now that you are reading this, you'll start to notice it too. If you see any cool ones - send me the photos. :)

See how cool I look taking these photos? For awhile I tried to not get my feet in the picture, but then I decided that they added character and charm. And for me that is part of what makes photography such a fun hobby -- you get to make the rules up as you go.

So, I've got a little trivia challenge for this post. Can you tell me where these hydrants are from? I can tell you they are from our trip down south this spring. I can also tell you the cities: Memphis, Nashville, Louisville and St. Louis. Now... you tell me if you can guess which ones are from which places. If you guess all six right, there may even be a prize involved, so tuned for that.

[Note: Big Huge Labs has an awesome mosaic maker. I always use it when I want to make one, and I love that it can link right up to your Flickr account. Enjoy the tip!]

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 2: Through the viewfinder

We're not going to let the rain slow us down!

We can already tell that this is going to be a fun month. We are looking forward to keeping you updated on our projects and progresses, but are also excited to see what others are doing as well. You can check out the roster of participants here and the Flickr group of some of those taking part in 30Days.

Now on to Day 2: Viewfinder Views.

30 Days of Creativity - Day 2: Through the viewfinder

As we've slowly watched our camera collection grow throughout the years, so has our collection of cameras that have a waist-level viewfinder. These finders are great for focusing and can be a lot of fun when you use other cameras to capture the image through the finder. Our example today is an image shot from our Olympus E-510 through the Kiev 6C finder. Neat result, right? Yeah, we thought so too. [You'll have to visit again sometime soon to see the actual images shot from the Kiev. We can't turn around medium format film as fast as digital files. :))]

Kiev 6c

Kiev 6c TTV

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

30 Days of Creativity - Day 1: Create

create (1 of 1)

Day 1: Create.

We have given our word to committing 30 days to the creation of crafty wonders. We are making this pledge along with many others, as witnessed through Facebook and Twitter. And, we are excited! Hooray for 30 Days of Creativity.

This was just the kick-start that we needed. We have been wanting to do all sorts of creative projects in the past months, and now we truly have the motivation to do so. I am a firm believer that creativity happens both alone and as part of a community.

You need a community to get inspiration and you need "self" to get it done. No idea is completely original anymore (sad, but true), and because of this in my mind it is okay to get tips from others when you begin your craft. However, straight up copying is not ideal. It's cool to take ideas from others, but it is necessary to make them your own by changing something up. At least that's what I believe. Take it for what you will.

In this month we are hoping to do more with the following projects:
+ Photography
+ Upcycled stationary
+ Magnet madness
+ Painting & designing toys
+ Home decorations
+ Summer treats (edible or not)

So, hold us to it. We're going to do our best to share our progresses with photos, tutorials, tweets and more. Join our community and please stay in touch.

Here's to 30 blissful days of being creative.