Month: March 2014

Inviting Spring to the front patio

Rainbow porch at www.nestinthewest.comIs it Spring yet? According to the calendar it is but it’s sure taking it’s time reaching my neighbourhood. Maybe a welcoming front patio decked out in a rainbow theme will help? Oh how I love making changes to the entry decor. This bit of curb appeal probably won’t stay up for long (because I have a scrappy project in mind) so I didn’t put heaps of time, money or effort into it.
Rainbow porch at www.nestinthewest.comI started with 7 sheets of felt and cut them in half on the long side. Then I cut those bits into bunting flag going from the bottom centre point up to the top point on each side. With the scraps from this, I repeated the process and got a second set of smaller triangles. Ditto for a third tiny set. Each set got sewn in a zigzag stitch onto a length of yarn with long tails left on either side for hanging. The largest garland hangs across my front window, the middle size is across the rocking chair and the little one is on a wreath. The rest of the felt scraps were used to make flowers and foliage for the already-yarn-wrapped wreath. Felt was my go-to for this project because it doesn’t fray, comes in great colors and is inexpensive. I love felt!
Rainbow porch at www.nestinthewest.comEvery year I vow not to buy a pot of forced bulbs but I always cave. It’s so nice to have an instant shot of color at the front door. I justify the purchase by planting the bulbs in my garden when they’re done to enjoy next year.
Rainbow porch at www.nestinthewest.comThis has just been up for a few days but I gotta say I’m liking it. Coming home to my very own rainbow is making me smile. Now if the sun would just stop by to see it!

Camera course – week 1

You guys, I’m pretty excited to tell you I’ve completed week 1 of Mastering Your DSLR, an on-line camera course through A Beautiful Mess. I say camera course rather than photography course because it’s really to help beginners like me figure out how to use their cameras properly….like taking it off of automatic!
blossomsI have to say I was a bit nervous but am so glad I took the plunge. In this first week I’ve learned how to manually set the shutter speed and seen through practice how that impacts photos. Each week consists of a lesson, mini lesson and ends with a creative assignment. There are lots of materials including pdf downloads, videos, a class forum and photo gallery for support.
flagsI’m a total advocate of life-long learning and am so happy to be picking up a new skill that I hope will lead to another lasting hobby. The learning curve is pretty big but I’m pretty sure I’ll get there – one week at a time.
fountainHere are my four favourite shots this week. The lesson centred around shutter speeds (slow), capturing movement (the flags) and water (a fountain and pond). The blossom shot is a wildcard! As an interesting aside, taking photos at a fountain was one of the creative assignment suggestions – turns out there are 6 within walking distance of my home. I never realized that until now. See?….learning new stuff is fun!
pond waterFor now the focus is on getting comfortable with the camera, not on creativity. That’ll come, right?! What about you – is anyone picking up a new hobby or trying something new? Spring seems like a great time for fresh starts!

Vintage carry-on bag – thrift find

You know how they say you find love when you stop looking for it? Well, that happened to me this week. In the form of a vintage carry-on bag at the local thrift shop, in beautiful deep red. I was smitten at first sight!
Vintage find at www.nestinthewest.comThe back story is this – I bought myself a camera for Christmas and am finally getting over my intimidation and learning to use it. Cameras lead to other stuff, like additional lenses, maybe a tripod and definitely a notebook in my case. I have a little canvas camera tote that holds just the minimum essentials. So I did some on-line window (or is that screen) shopping for a bag big enough for all the gear but still a bit stylish. Like the purse-style bags. Oh, they’re so nice and come in gorgeous colors with padded pockets and everything a girl could hope for. However, the price tags stopped me in my tracks. Most are in the $200 range, ouch. I put that dream aside for now.
Vintage find at www.nestinthewest.comWhile out for a walk in my neighbourhood, I stopped to mail a parcel, get a latte and wandered into the thrift shop….since I was right there. That’s when I spotted this vintage vinyl carry-on bag and did a little internal squeal. It’s in near new condition with side pockets, a zippered inside pocket, solid bottom and lots of room for gear. Then I found what became the absolute selling feature – snaps on each strap which make them adjustable to 3 different lengths, including on the shoulder.
Vintage find at www.nestinthewest.comI cleaned it up with mild dish soap and a toothbrush and love it. I’ll add some interior padding so I can safely use this as my beginner camera bag. Then it might get additional lives if I decide to become an Air Canada flight attendant or someone who goes bowling. Until then I’ll enjoy my “new” $3 camera bag!