Monday, February 28, 2011

Vintage Photography

I love all things vintage! I mean what's not to love? I especially LOVE and collect vintage aprons! I feel soo "June Cleaver" when I wear one! ;)

Anyway, I was in an antique shop a couple years ago when I came across this box! Since I am such a lover of photography, I just knew I had to have it! Plus the $5.00 price tag made my decision easy!
What drew me to this camera was how unusual it looked with it's weird dials, and just how solid it was. I have started a collection of old cameras, so I really didn't plan on doing anything with it except to keep it. I did want to create a cool camera robot out of it...but now that it works that is out of the question! 

Anyway, for the last couple of years I had pushed the camera aside! When I came across the box a few months ago, my husband and I looked more closely at it. We couldn't figure out where the viewfinder was. Or the button to actually take the photo! lol

 Just the other day when I actually researched the camera I realized that the viewfinder stands on top of the camera. It's a pop-out viewfinder. See the photo below...that's where the viewfinder would be if it had one. Besides a missing viewfinder, it is in very good condition!
 So I began to research the camera. I found out that it is a Kodak 35 camera from the year 1938! I was soo excited! I never imagined it to be this old! It was Kodak's first 35mm camera! When I found that out I was super excited, because 35mm film is easy to find and inexpensive!

In 1938 the cost of this camera was $40 which converts to a price of what would now be $609 according to data from the year 2009.

But I had no manual! Luckily, I came across an old one that someone had uploaded! I ran upstairs and grabbed a roll of 35mm film that I had leftover from the days before I went digital, and I began to experiment with it! Unfortunately, I snapped/broke two rolls of film before I figured out how to load and unload it properly!
I love how sleek and wonderful the metal is! On the left you can see the "rewind button", and on the right is the "exposure dial" that shows you how many photos you have left on the roll! And next to the exposure dial is the "wind button"...yes you have to manually operate this camera! lol Did they even have batteries in 1938? Eventhough I know it's manual...I still look for it to operate with batteries for some reason! lol I just cannot imagine or comprehend how it works without batteries! lol
Also under close inspection of the camera...we didn't know where the "exposure button" was to take the photo! After reading the manual you have to push down the screw/lever on the side of the lense. I added the arrow to show you exactly where the button/lever is. According to the manual you press down the lever and "take a breath" and release it! I can't wait to play around with this button and hold it down for more than a breath just to see how much light gets added to the finished photo!
 I love the little plate on top of the lense that is written in a cursive font that says: "Made in the USA!" It's hard to find a good quality product anymore that is actually made in the USA!
You can't tell visually by looking at the camera in person, but I realized from the photo below that the lense is very dusty! I guess I am going to have to clean it now that I know that it works!
So today I tried roll number 3 and successfully managed to load and unload the roll of film without breaking it! I was soo excited with the possibility of it actually working that I didn't read the manual correctly the first couple of times! Now that I have learned how to properly load and unload the film...I cannot wait to experiment!

The photos are a little blurry, but I love how it adds to that vintage photo effect! That is another downside to the way this camera is made. Without a viewfinder to look through that is inside the camera, there is no way to see if your image will turn out blurry. Along the lense is a dial that has a distance you can adjust, by how many feet you are standing away from the object. I think it starts with four feet and goes up to about twenty feet and then to "infinity" or something like that. I'll need to play around with it more and keep a notebook until I learn how to correctly take an image. I am just soo happy that it is actually a functioning camera! I have never been soo excited over blurry photos before until today! :)

I processed them at a 1-hour lab and looked at them several times on the way home! I was that excited!

Like I said I was so excited with just wanting the camera to work that I just took random photos from my backyard...nothing really planned out. Since there is no flash on the camera, it'll probably work best on bright and sunny days. Today it was rainy and an overcast. I took some photos in the house, they turned out, but were too dark.
Like I said, I randomly took photos, not thinking that anything would actually turn out! lol For example why on earth would I take a photo of the faucet outside?! lol
Or the camper! lol
All of these photos were straight from the camera. I did not photoshop any of them except the black and white one below! I love how the black and white one turned really gives it a vintage feel!
I also love and collect old vintage photographs that I have displayed around my home. I'll have to share those with you sometime soon as well! But with a camera from 1938, it makes me wonder...what photos has this camera taken. Who owned it? And did they love photography as much as I do?

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Peek Into My Art Journal

This is week 3 of my online "Sketchbook Delight" class! And I am loving it! Last weeks lesson was about finding your inspiration or "muse." I have realized that there are soo many things around me that are inspiring...that have great textures and beautiful colors! I really learned to open my eyes and see all the detail, that I normally overlook!

Last week I found some old corn cobs in our garage for our squirrel. They had such wonderful texture. I knew I must capture it in my art journal. It wasn't Indian Corn, but I love the colors of Autumn so I made it into Indian Corn! :)
 Another view.
And I have many inspiring photos on file that I have taken over the years. I have been looking back at old photos and they just speak to me now! I love putting them down on paper! I'm not a realist type of artist, I love the whimsical dreamy look of art, so that's how I create!

Here is a nest that was built by a killdeer in the middle of my sister's driveway! I love how unique it was and I am sooo glad that I was able to photograph it! I've been drawn to bird nests lately, so you may be seeing a lot more of them!
Here is my take on the bird nest. I journaled around the painting. I used watercolor, pencil, colored pencil, and markers.
Another angle.
And by far the most inspirational place I have been to recently was our trip to the beach this past summer! I didn't realize how inspired I was until after I came home and missed it tremendously! I cannot wait to go to the beach again this summer and take my watercolors and just paint on the beach!

Here was our view from the campground we stayed at called "Castaways" in Berlin, Maryland. We stayed on the bay side and in the distance you can see Assateague Island.
I should have varied the colors of blue, but since I am just beginning with watercolors I am ok with it. I had an inspirational moment and just went with it.
And I did the journaling on the sand.
Another view.
I religiously work in my art journal everyday! I have been going through some tough times lately, and art is a great escape for me! I am seeing the world with a whole new view, and I LOVE it! :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fairies Out...Gnomes In!

Awhile back I blogged about our "Fairy Door." You can read about that HERE It's a tiny little door in our dining room on the floor and it's where the fairies live. The "fairies" would leave the boys little notes and treats in the mailbox and the boys had a lot of fun with it. But then like all things when you get super fades away. Ben and I started talking about the fairy door last night, and I told him that the fairy must have moved away because all of the dust on her doorstep. I honestly think she got way to busy with taking her kids to hockey practice, painting, cleaning, and laundry...but I didn't tell him that! ;).

So before bed, Ben wanted to write the fairy a little note and leave it in her mailbox. It says: "I hope you enjoy." And he also left her an Andes Candy! She like Santa Claus LOVES Andes Candies and coffee! ;)
 Here he is putting the note and Andes Candy into her mailbox with hopes she will find it and enjoy!
 And this morning Ben checked the mailbox and the note said: "Thank you Ben! From Mr. Gnome...enjoy!" And Mr. Gnome left Ben a "Crabby Patty!"

Apparently the fairies have moved out and the gnomes have taken over! :)
So in the next couple of days we will be decorating the "Gnome Door" with St. Patrick's Day decorations! I'll be sure to share what we come up with!

And hopefully this Spring I'm going to create my own set of "Gnome/Fairies Doors" for my Etsy Shop! So stay tuned for that!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I have been soo busy over the last week! Friday was my 33rd birthday (YIKES) and I spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with a wonderful bunch of friends at a Scrapbook Retreat!

I was supposed to play hockey last night, but didn't feel well when I got home. We planned on seeing Gnomeo and Juliet yesterday afternoon, but it was sold out! The boys were soo excited and couldn't wait until I got home from the retreat to see the movie. I ended up going home and going to bed so Chris took the boys to see the movie without me! :(  It came out on my birthday, and the movie is meant for me (since I'm a gnome lover) and THEY LEFT ME AT HOME!

So I'm planning on seeing the movie soon...and probably alone! lol

So anyhow I am into my second week in an online sketchbook class called: "Sketchbook Delight" taught by the wonderful artist Alisa Burke!

This weeks class was about finding your inspiration! I have always thought that I was artistically challenged! I seemed to never come up with my own inspiration...I always got inspired by other's artwork! Let me clarify, I never copied anyone's work, but I looked for things in it that inspired me. And I always wished to find my own "style."

Over the years and especially this last year I have walked through life blindly...unable to see the beauty that is around me!

Well look out...I have finally opened my eyes and I see all the beauty that surrounds me! And it feels soo good to create, and do it on my own! Remember the bird nest I blogged about this past Spring? You can read about it here.
This is what I came up with! I have played with watercolors before, but haven't done any real paintings. This is my first attempt at a sketchbook page! I really love how it turned out! I first sketched it in pencil in the waiting room at my son's pediatricians. Yes, he's sick again and actually ruptured his eardrum! He's finally feeling a little better today, thankfully!
Here's a closeup.
Another closeup.
Another. get the idea! ;)
And speaking of art...look what Alex made me on my birthday? A pink playdoh cake! He's my little artist...he loves to paint and just create anything! Wonder who he takes after? ;)
It's almost midnight and I have a ton of ideas that I can't wait to get into my sketchbook! I have been working at it non-stop and I just can't quit! It feels soooo good! I'll share more of my sketchbook in the next couple of days! Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Much, much too old for this!

Last night I played in my first official hockey game in about 15 years! As you know from my previous blog posts I have been helping out with my local rink's Little Penguin Learn To Play program. It felt natural to be out there playing again, and I was looking forward to joining a team!

I got a call asking about joining a team a couple days ago. I originally wanted to play with younger kids/teens because that is more my speed. Unfortunately, there wasn't any spots in that division so I was asked to play with the adults (or big boys as I call them)! A little unsure I said "yes" and very late last night I headed to my first real game! I need to give a big thank you to my wonderful neice Desiree for coming over to sit at the house while I was gone!

It's a little lonely being the only girl on an all boys team. I have to get dressed in my very own dressing room...alone! And rarely anyone talks to me. I don't know what the big deal is about changing around men or vice versa. I already have a t-shirt on and shorts under my jeans, so it's not like I get naked and plus when you've seen one basically have seen them all...they all look the same! lol But anyway I got ready alone. Oh and I got my very own jersey and socks...which was exciting, and made it ever so "real!"

So then it was time for the big game. I wasn't nervous at all and was actually really excited! Our team isn't very full, so there are only three players who sit on the bench at one time. Which means you play a majority of the game....3- 20 minute periods! YIKES!

The game started and I nearly died seeing how fast the other team was! I come to find out that they are very experienced high school hockey players! What the heck did I get myself into?! The first period trying to keep up to these men was super exhausting! I'm not an overly religious person, but found myself sitting on the bench trying to catch my breath and praying that I either didn't throw up or pass out! lol

When I played hockey in the past there was always an ambulance there in case something happened. Last night there wasn't one, and I honestly thought I was going to have a heart attack and I was going to die right there among a bunch of clueless high school teenagers! lol I was also beginning to panic when I didn't even see one of those glass cases that hold a Heart Defibulator! I was seeing stars and thought I was doomed! lol  I honestly wanted to quit during that first period, but I would never do that because I was part of a team that depended on me! Normally I play defense, which requires a lot of skating backwards, but they were just too darn fast and I spent most of my time just trying to keep up!

By the third period I was physically exhausted! When it was time for a line change I would just roll over the boards and onto the bench! Then I would go out there and last maybe a minute and would need to sit back was crazy! I continued to pray that the time would just go by quickly, and eventually it did! After an excruciating hour it was finally over! And at 11:30 pm nonetheless! I find out that the oldest person on our team according to one of the other guys, is 30-years-old which to them is old! Apparently they think I'm in my early twenties, but will be 33-years-old in just a couple days!

With the late games and priorities as a mom, I'm not sure if I'm going to continue. My team wants me to come back, but I'm still unsure. I would love to continue playing because it's such a great workout, but apparently I'm the only one with parental obligations! The other players go out to the bar after the game and don't have to get up the next morning at 7 am to pack lunches and get a 5-year-old ready for school! And speaking of getting up...I could barely move this morning...I'm hurting in places that I've never hurt before! lol

But to sum up my night and just to give you an idea of just how excruciating it was...I told my husband I would rather give birth to 100 babies than have to endure that again! lol And the two births that I experienced were very long and very, very painful! lol

Sunday, February 6, 2011

You're In Steeler Country

It's hard to find a street in my area that is not decorated with Steeler decorations! You'll find several houses that aren't decorated (including mine), but you can't go far without seeing the black and gold!

Even though I am not a football fan, I wanted to share some of my favorite local decorations!

They put a lot of effort and detail into decorating this house!
 I didn't catch it at the time but Alex yelled from the backseat...look at that giant bottle of "hot sauce!" It's not hot sauce, but Heinz Ketchup (a Pittsburgh made product)! I tried to convince him that it was "ketchup" but he didn't believe me! ;) I have seen a lot of inflatable decorations over the years, but never a giant ketchup bottle! lol
 Here is another view of the house. I love how they have made goal lines/yard lines (I think that is what they are called) in the grass. Usually we have snow, so that is probably why I have never noticed them before!
 Also to the side of their yard they have a little black and gold graveyard! Tomorrow they will probably be adding a "Green Bay" tombstone! ;)
 Here is another house. Love the sign: "You're In Steeler Country!"
I really wanted to get a photo of the sign that was hung at a local restaurant. It said we are now serving "Roethlis-burgers!"

Apparently it is a burger named after our quarterback Ben Roethlisberger! :)

Unfortunately, the sign was no longer up, so I couldn't get a photo for you!
I probably will not be watching the game...I'll probably flip back and forth. I'm just not a football kind of girl!

Also, I was surprised to hear that Pittsburgh City Schools have a 2 hour delay in the morning! And this is just because of the Superbowl! I'm glad that we live outside of the city. I would be upset if our school was delayed for something as stupid as football! But like I said before Pittsburgers take their football very seriously! ;)

Have a safe and fun Superbowl Sunday!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Here We Go

Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go, Pittsburgh's Going To The Superbowl!"

Ok let me go back to yesterday.....

My husband picked up Ben from school and around 4:15 he handed me a note from Ben's teacher. The note said that she was having a last minute Superbowl Party at school the following day and it would be great if I can contribute to this party! We had to leave for hockey practice at 5:00, so I only had 45 minutes to run to Walmart to get these supplies for the party! I knew that I could have gone after practice, but I actually help teach the kids to play, and knew that I couldn't go to the store smelling all sweaty and nasty.

Sidenote: The way you smell after playing hockey is the worst smell possible. I knew I could not go out in public smelling that way! ;)

Anyway, this is what I grabbed at the store. I'm not a football fan, so hopefully this will work for a Kindergarten Superbowl Party.

Have you seen these cute football shaped Little Debbie's Brownies? They are sooo adorable and very tasty!
I also bought black and yellow Pittsburgh Steeler tortilla chips! Yes, we have our own Steeler Tortilla Chips that comes out this time of year.
And of course I had to get Steeler napkins and plates!
And then I went to the party store. I wanted each of the kids to have something that was fun and something that they could take home with them. So I bought black and gold Mardis Gras beads! I'm just hoping that they do not know the real use of Mardis Gras beads or we may have a huge problem on our hands! lol ;)
I also came up with a little game for the party. At the party store I bought a little penalty flag, which is like a weighted type of flag. I thought it would be perfect for playing either hot potato or used to throw at a target like a garbage can.

People in Pittsburgh really take their football's like a religion! I'll blog more about that tomorrow. But yesterday being Thursday was crazy with people rummaging through all of the Steeler merchandise at Walmart and the party store! It was nuts!

Will you be watching the big game on Sunday? Who are you rooting for?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Winter here in South Western Pennsylvania sure can be beautiful but sometimes it's just an inconvenience!

I don't have 4 wheel drive, so when I can venture out, I love looking at the beautiful snowy landscape!

Yes, I know that this is dangerous...but sometimes I like to take photos when I drive! lol Here is a shot of the beautiful trees that surrounded the highway!
 While I was driving I came across a bunch of black crows on the side of the road. I loved the contrast between the black birds and the snow. So I turned around and came back and they had already flown away! So here is a shot of them speckled among the trees.
Here is one of my favorite roads! And I especially love it in the Fall! The trees lining this back country road are just beautiful!
Wouldn't you just love a big beautiful house along this road? I know I would!
Also along this road was a farm, and I believe there was a pond under all of this snow! Why else would there be geese in the Winter? They must love this road as much as I do, because aren't they supposed to fly South when it's cold?
Hopefully it's warm in your part of the world. We are supposed to get a huge snowstorm either tomorrow or the following day!