A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: August 2012

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30 August 2012

The Solution to all those half eaten pieces of fruit...

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I've had this problem for awhile now.  I've thought about solutions and nothing seemed to fit or work.  I felt wasteful.  The problem?  Fruit.

My boys love fruit (not the problem!!).  They also tend to not finish the fruit (the probelm!).  Oranges, apples, pears plums -- they like them all, but waste big portions of them all as well.  I can give the leftovers to the chickens, but we are talking expensive fruit.  I like the good apples (Honey Crisp!) and of course they always want them too.  Those apples cost a lot and we end up giving the cores to the chickens!   Don't even get me started on the gourmet pears the boys picked out at the grocery store last time....

In any case, I was chopping the leftovers off the core and tossing them in a bag for the chickens, when all the sudden it struck me...


Why hadn't I thought of this before?  All the fruit scraps, all the yogurt scraps, dried fruit leftovers and even some granola go into the bag.  The bag goes into the freezer.  Once it is full, the whole shebang goes in the blender and it is smoothie time!

The boys don't know where the ingredients for smoothies come from.  They just love them

They don't know where the leftovers from their half-eaten fruit goes.  They just wash their hands and move on to play with more trucks, trains, dirt and worms.

It's a win-win-win...

...except for the chickens...I bet they miss those gourmet pears....

The Solution to all those half eaten pieces of fruit...

Pin It

I've had this problem for awhile now.  I've thought about solutions and nothing seemed to fit or work.  I felt wasteful.  The problem?  Fruit.

My boys love fruit (not the problem!!).  They also tend to not finish the fruit (the probelm!).  Oranges, apples, pears plums -- they like them all, but waste big portions of them all as well.  I can give the leftovers to the chickens, but we are talking expensive fruit.  I like the good apples (Honey Crisp!) and of course they always want them too.  Those apples cost a lot and we end up giving the cores to the chickens!   Don't even get me started on the gourmet pears the boys picked out at the grocery store last time....

In any case, I was chopping the leftovers off the core and tossing them in a bag for the chickens, when all the sudden it struck me...


Why hadn't I thought of this before?  All the fruit scraps, all the yogurt scraps, dried fruit leftovers and even some granola go into the bag.  The bag goes into the freezer.  Once it is full, the whole shebang goes in the blender and it is smoothie time!

The boys don't know where the ingredients for smoothies come from.  They just love them

They don't know where the leftovers from their half-eaten fruit goes.  They just wash their hands and move on to play with more trucks, trains, dirt and worms.

It's a win-win-win...

...except for the chickens...I bet they miss those gourmet pears....

24 August 2012

How to Take Better Photos of your CRAZY KIDS!

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*Any mama that has tried taking photos of their newborn baby, toddling toddler or impatient kiddo knows that it is not nearly as easy as you might think.  Those babies are not only squirmy and tiny and fragile, but they also are very picky about their location!   ...and those kids?  They can be STUBBORN!

*Portions of content previously published on Allenaim Photography 

While everyone would love to take their newborn to a professional photographer every few weeks to document their growth, financially it is impossible.  It is not impossible, however, to take quality photographs of your baby at home!  There are a few simple techniques that will help you get the best out of your camera and your newborn, toddler or kiddo.

1.  LIGHT

The key to any great photography is light.  Good photographers can work in any type of lighting, but if you ask them, 90% will tell you they prefer natural lighting.  The trick about natural lighting is that you don't want the sun to shine directly on your subject.  Ideally, you shoot in a bright, yet shady area, or you shoot on a cloudy day.  In any case, your baby will squint if the light is too bright, so harsh lighting and flashes are not your friend when it comes to photographing babies and children.


Try placing your child in a doorway, and have them turn their eyes toward the light, but not directly into the source.  For example, this little girl was told to stand in the doorway and look into the bright daylight (at the horsies actually....).  I was able to get her eyes to light up with the reflections, but the sun was off to her right and did not make her squint.

The photo below was taken on a shady porch with the little girl looking towards a bright sky.  The sun is off to her back left, so the sun does not make her squint, but the bright sky offers enough light and reflection for the photo.

READ MORE AFTER the BREAK!  (Grab some coffee!!!)




Here are some more examples:

This photo was taken using natural light from a window directly behind the photographer as well as to the left.

This photo was taken at sunset with the sun lightly falling on the back of baby's head.

2.  BLANKIES

Newborn babies in particular need to be very warm.  If you intend to take photos of newborns without clothing, the room needs to be around 80 degrees or you should be shooting outdoors on a hot day.  If a baby is cold, they will simply scream.  Screaming photos are cute for about 2 photos and then it is suddenly not so cute anymore.  Bundle that baby!   

3.  HANDS (and feet)

Babies not only need warmth, but they need quiet.  Most of the best shots come when your baby is completely asleep.  You are able to "arrange" them to capture detail shots in the perfect light and if you are lucky, you'll capture your little one smiling in their dreams.  When photographing your newborn, don't forget to photograph their tiny hands and feet and ears and belly buttons.   If you have a "macro" setting (the icon is often a closeup of a flower), turn the dial on your camera to it to get great close up shots.

As a parent, I am often drawn to the detail shots of my children.  They sometimes evoke more emotion than a simple headshot, and they are easy shots to get when the children are mad, making faces, crying, etc.

4. STORY


This sequence of hands tells a story.  Check out those crushed flowers in the little boys dirt covered hands and then contrast the way the little girl holds the flowers delicately.  There's always a story to be told with kiddos, but it is often in the tiny details.

This sequence was shot with a zoom lens in a space of about 15 seconds.  The first shot was snapped zoomed in to show the hands, the second zoomed out to capture the exchange and then zoomed in again to capture the little girl's hand.

5. RELATIONSHIP

 Along with the details, relationship is the second concept I always try to capture in a shoot.   Whether it is a brother-brother relationship, a mom and baby relationship or a sister to sister relationship, I want to capture the way they connect.


There is no better way to get natural smiles and loosen up kiddos (and their parents!) than by having them connect physically the way they normally do.  Let boys wrestle.  Let mamas cuddle.  If they usually hold hands walking down the street, capture that.  If they always kiss each other on the forehead, don't make them kiss on the cheek.   Focus on the individual ways your children connect to their siblings (and you!) and capture that.  Those are the photos that bring on the tears. (...the good ones...)


6.  PATIENCE

It takes patience to create a warm, quiet, peaceful environment where a baby will feel comfortable.  Be patient and take your time.  Let baby nurse if they want.  Once you have the baby comfortable, then you can begin posing.  One of my favorite poses is with daddy holding his newborn baby out towards the camera.  I love the contrast of Daddy's large, rough hands against the tiny, fragile baby with their wisps of hair.


7. PLAY

As babies grow a little larger, they can start to pose themselves.  For a photo like this, get yourself set and let baby wiggle his way to you.   LET THEM PLAY!  Get yourself down at baby's level either on a bed or on the floor.

Babies will look other people in the room instead of the camera if they are present.  Kick them out!
I often shoot by holding my camera under my chin while I look at the child from above the camera.  It is much less intimidating to have the camera pointed at them if they also see your face!  You will also be much more likely to get baby looking at the camera if you show them your face and make them giggle.  That giant black lens can be intimidating. 

Kick everybody else out of the room and you'll have a much better chance at seeing those baby blues.

The same concepts work with older children as well.   We never would have gotten this shot:
...without letting him try to catch a hovering spiderweb...


 LET THEM PLAY.  Grumpy children make for ugly photos, while happy, playful kiddos will show their true personalities and give genuine expressions.


 ...and sometimes...there is only one thing that really works and it is...

8. CANDY

Now grab your camera and go get some good shots!! 


Want more advice on taking photos of your kids?  Check out this article on self-shooting a family photo shoot right HERE!

If you are interested in learning about different posing techniques, you can check out a sample from the TRIX Posing Guides HERE!

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Allenaim Photography is a home based photography and design studio located in the sweetest place on Earth; Hershey, Pennsylvania!  Amy also coordinates a home design and nesting blog titled A Nest for all Seasons where she writes photo tutorials and videos on everything from homemade tortilla chips to making art display cases out of dresser drawers.  While she is not blogging, she is chasing around three little boys and doing a LOT of laundry!  Amy has been featured on the Nate Berkus Show, WomansDay.com, Hobby Farm Home, BHG.com, Design*Sponge, Zankyou Magazine, Occasions Magazine and is a design writer for HOUZZ.com.


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Have you noticed that the ads are GONE from the top of the blog as well as any ads that pop up ANYWHERE on the nest? I have taken off my most profitable ads in response to reader complaints. To help support this blog, I ask that you click on my amazon links (any of them!) when you need to purchase items. From giftcards to diapers -- books to electronics -- IT ALL COUNTS! Please support A Nest for All Seasons by clicking HERE to go to amazon and forever say goodbye to intrusive ads!

Since many of you have asked for more gear recommendations, here goes!


1.                           2.                                3.


Want the best camera ever?  Sorry -- I can't help you.  I CAN however tell you what got ME started!
I started out on a D40 (camera 3), currently shoot with a D7000 (camera 2) and recommend the D3000 (camera 1).
Whatever you do, save your money you had set aside for that Nikon Coolpix or Canon Powershot and buy a used DSLR.  Trust me.


...oh and PS -- these tips work JUST as well for a manual camera as they do for digital cameras...

How to Take Better Photos of your CRAZY KIDS!

Pin It


*Any mama that has tried taking photos of their newborn baby, toddling toddler or impatient kiddo knows that it is not nearly as easy as you might think.  Those babies are not only squirmy and tiny and fragile, but they also are very picky about their location!   ...and those kids?  They can be STUBBORN!

*Portions of content previously published on Allenaim Photography 

While everyone would love to take their newborn to a professional photographer every few weeks to document their growth, financially it is impossible.  It is not impossible, however, to take quality photographs of your baby at home!  There are a few simple techniques that will help you get the best out of your camera and your newborn, toddler or kiddo.

1.  LIGHT

The key to any great photography is light.  Good photographers can work in any type of lighting, but if you ask them, 90% will tell you they prefer natural lighting.  The trick about natural lighting is that you don't want the sun to shine directly on your subject.  Ideally, you shoot in a bright, yet shady area, or you shoot on a cloudy day.  In any case, your baby will squint if the light is too bright, so harsh lighting and flashes are not your friend when it comes to photographing babies and children.


Try placing your child in a doorway, and have them turn their eyes toward the light, but not directly into the source.  For example, this little girl was told to stand in the doorway and look into the bright daylight (at the horsies actually....).  I was able to get her eyes to light up with the reflections, but the sun was off to her right and did not make her squint.

The photo below was taken on a shady porch with the little girl looking towards a bright sky.  The sun is off to her back left, so the sun does not make her squint, but the bright sky offers enough light and reflection for the photo.

READ MORE AFTER the BREAK!  (Grab some coffee!!!)

23 August 2012

Microwaving Soap, Molly Wood and Leonardo Dicaprio's PINFAIL

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Did you see the PINFAIL last night from Mrs. Priss? The one where she explained why her kitchen smelled like burnt soap? No? Click HERE.

Want to learn how to microwave soap without the explosions?  Check out my post today on Crafts Unleashed.  Learning how to "make" soap has never been easier :)


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Where else have I been lately?



...AND...


Don't miss a thing!  Follow along on Houzz or just follow the facebook page for updates!

(oh and don't forget to check out the one where Rose and Leo PINFAILED -- like seriously -- except they didn't have pinning on the Titanic...but you know what I mean.......PIN-FAAAAAAAIL)

Microwaving Soap, Molly Wood and Leonardo Dicaprio's PINFAIL

Pin It

Did you see the PINFAIL last night from Mrs. Priss? The one where she explained why her kitchen smelled like burnt soap? No? Click HERE.

Want to learn how to microwave soap without the explosions?  Check out my post today on Crafts Unleashed.  Learning how to "make" soap has never been easier :)


Pin It

Where else have I been lately?



...AND...


Don't miss a thing!  Follow along on Houzz or just follow the facebook page for updates!

(oh and don't forget to check out the one where Rose and Leo PINFAILED -- like seriously -- except they didn't have pinning on the Titanic...but you know what I mean.......PIN-FAAAAAAAIL)

22 August 2012

How to Save and Move Photoshop Action (.atn) Folders

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...because I couldn't find this anywhere on the Internet when I was trying to figure it out -- here is a cheatsheet for how to save and move .atn folders.   It is a very simple process, but took a while to figure out, so here is a cheat sheet for you!  If I am speaking another language to you, no worries!  You might be more interested in the FOODIE, GARDEN or DIY sections of the blog, yes?

If you landed here because you need some help moving around actions that you have created -- here you go!  I am working out of Photoshop CS5, but the same basic steps should work in most versions of PS.

A. Make sure you are out of "button mode". 

This is the button mode on your actions palette:


This is not:


To get there, click the little button in the top right hand corner and simply click "button mode" on and off.  

B.  Make a folder in your actions palette (click the folder button on the bottom of the actions palette) and drag your actions into the folder from their location on the palette.

C. Highlight the actions folder by clicking on it.

D. Click the top right drop down menu and click "save actions".

E. Save the actions on your desktop or create a new folder anywhere on your computer. 

F. Upload the action file to mediafire or another media sharing site from your desktop and start sharing your actions with your friends!

Questions?  Just ask!

How to Save and Move Photoshop Action (.atn) Folders

Pin It

...because I couldn't find this anywhere on the Internet when I was trying to figure it out -- here is a cheatsheet for how to save and move .atn folders.   It is a very simple process, but took a while to figure out, so here is a cheat sheet for you!  If I am speaking another language to you, no worries!  You might be more interested in the FOODIE, GARDEN or DIY sections of the blog, yes?

If you landed here because you need some help moving around actions that you have created -- here you go!  I am working out of Photoshop CS5, but the same basic steps should work in most versions of PS.

A. Make sure you are out of "button mode". 

This is the button mode on your actions palette:


This is not:


To get there, click the little button in the top right hand corner and simply click "button mode" on and off.  

B.  Make a folder in your actions palette (click the folder button on the bottom of the actions palette) and drag your actions into the folder from their location on the palette.

C. Highlight the actions folder by clicking on it.

D. Click the top right drop down menu and click "save actions".

E. Save the actions on your desktop or create a new folder anywhere on your computer. 

F. Upload the action file to mediafire or another media sharing site from your desktop and start sharing your actions with your friends!

Questions?  Just ask!

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