1 Day 1 World Project 9:00 am – 10:00 am – The Sleepy Head

blog 9-10 amOur youngest has a morning habit, once my husband goes to work he takes over his side of the bed and snuggles in. According to our son, it’s a “really, really warm bed”. This morning he made himself really comfortable and slept in the sunbeam until noon. When he woke up he was quite put out that it was lunchtime, in his mind that wasn’t possible as he hadn’t had breakfast yet. We negotiated and settled on oatmeal  for his breakfast/lunch. As the day went on, sleeping until lunchtime became his “funny story” that he just had to share with everyone.

(By the way, the secret is out, pajamas don’t match in our house!)

This post is part of Northwest Frame of Mind’s 1 Day 1 World project. This week’s entry was for 9:00am-10:00 am. Her entry for the project can be seen by clicking HERE.

Fresh From the Garden

This year was not the best growing year for us. First we had hail, lots and lots of hail, and then we had an early snow. I will admit that after the flattening hail I stopped paying attention to the vegetable beds as all seemed lost. Somehow the raised beds along the side of the house made a bit of a recovery. The turnips never did form turnips, but the beets did well.

picking beets Last night my oldest daughter went out to pick some beets for supper. The children love pulling out the root veggies and seeing what size of vegetable is lurking beneath the soil. The first one she pulled was a good size, but the second was huge.

beets She was thrilled with this beet. ( By the way she is wearing a neck warmer she knit  herself. Didn’t she do a great job?!) If you look to the window behind her you can see the shattered frame thanks to the hail; we have a bit of fixing to do.

blog beets 3We had these yummy beets for dinner. I cooked the beets in orange juice with just a little brown sugar. The greens were cooked with olive oil, garlic and turkey bacon. So good!

The Great Squirrel Relocation Project (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada)

squirrel

“Critters” seems to be a reoccurring theme in our life. We’ve had bat situations and ant invasions. We have dealt with raccoons invading shed and garden and mice moving into our house. The latest encounter has been the squirrely-est squirrel we have ever seen.

It all started innocently enough. Sometime in the summer a squirrel moved into one of the huge spruce trees in our front yard. He spent the summer scampering about and doing what squirrels do. Come fall the squirrel went into winter preparation mode, frantically collecting and storing cones from our trees. It was all very interesting to watch. However last week the squirrel experience took a turn.

squirrel

Last week the squirrel became too brave. It all started when he decided to start eating the cones while sitting on our deck rail. He was getting a little too close to the house. We remember what happened to the family across the street from us and we didn’t want it to happen to us.  Squirrels invaded their house resulting in having to replace their deck, roof and siding. Of course it doesn’t help that the lady next door was (and still is) FEEDING the squirrels. Why would anyone encourage a problem?

So the squirrel progressed from eating on our deck to bringing cones on to the deck and storing them in our planters. Then he started burying them in our planters. As the cones started to pile up we knew we had to discourage our furry friend, so we started getting rid of the cones. Then the squirrel started to dig up the planters. There was dirt everywhere. We’d clean it up. An hour later, again there was dirt everywhere. At one point we even covered the top of a planter with one of our son’s big toy diggers, and the squirrel tried to dig around it. The squirrel wasn’t getting the message.

Dirt everywhere from the planters.

Dirt everywhere from the planters.

Digging up the planters.

Digging up the planters.

 

It was time to relocate our fluffy tailed friend.

Thanks to our ongoing mouse situation, and my husband’s new hobby of buying traps, we had a brand new live squirrel trap in the basement (as you do!). An accidental purchase thanks to our four year old of peanuts provided the perfect bait. We threw in a few of his cones for good measure.

blog squirrel being relocatedWithin an hour Mr. Squirrel had found a way into the live trap, eaten the peanuts and was ready for his trip to greener forests.

We popped him in the back of the truck, and my husband covered the cage with a tarp. He says it was to keep the squirrel calm. I don’t know. Perhaps it was too similar to classic kidnapping techniques you read about………he was just making sure the squirrel didn’t know where he was going so he didn’t come back.

blog squirrel being releasedWe took the squirrel down to the nature sanctuary. My husband lifted the door and the squirrel was gone in a flash. We’ve never seen a creature move so fast.

blog squirrel runs into the trees

Gaetz Lake sanctuary, Red Deer, AB, Canada

We think the squirrel will be much happier here, even though he will probably miss the steady diet of peanuts our neighbor fed him.

New ways of working – art and painting

blog new ways to workIn the last few months I have made some big changes to the way I paint and create fibre art pieces.  It wasn’t exactly a conscious choice, but more of a forced one. In the current era of uber-technology, often one’s first introduction to the work you create is seeing it on a screen. Work is viewed on websites and blogs (obviously!), and almost all submissions for competitions or calls for art require that images be submitted digitally. I had discovered it didn’t matter how amazing your work looked in person, it had to look amazing on the screen, and so began the changing of my work practices.

Back in the spring I started to shoot pieces on my iPhone. First it was shooting “works in progress”. It helped me to see how the piece was progressing, if it was improving, or at times if I had lost the plot. I found shooting the progress to be motivational, especially on a slow going piece. Even though I have an arsenal of high end camera gear, I found at the “in progress” stage the phone served the purpose better. I know this seems a little odd, but if an art piece looks great on a mediocre piece of technology, the image will be fabulous when shot in the studio with proper lighting and high end glass.

The iPhone then became an important tool in determining an artists most asked question…..”Is it finished?”. Well we all know art is usually abandoned (LOL), but we will use the term “finished” to make everything seem prim and proper. The iPhone was a good tool in seeing the gaps in the work. It helped to determine if a painting needed more contrast, color or detail. With fibre art pieces it showed the gaps, a need for more stitching and definitely more beads. Looking at a piece or painting on the phone made me more objective. It also made for a lot more work, but the art became better because of it.

Into the summer technology started to play a new role when my husband gave me an iPad Mini. (Sorry about all the Apple propaganda!!!) I had been frustrated with never having a ready supply of images to work from, so his intention was that I could shoot on the iPad Mini to have images instantly to work from. In theory it was a good idea, but the lens and picture quality was only average. A few weeks after receiving the iPad Mini we were out on the coast,  I had left the iPad at the house for the day, but I had taken a few images on my phone. As I flicked through the phone pictures it came to me to email the images to myself and I could then save the images on my iPad. I had found the perfect working method, shoot on the phone, email, then paint from the iPad. The image quality and portability was better on the phone, but the iPad was the perfect size to work from.

This experience has been a case of embracing technology to work for you. The phones and tablets are fabulous tools for improving ones work and being able to see one’s work more objectively. They can help you track progress, and store tons of inspiration to tap into at a moment’s notice. Not long ago I would have had no use for an iPhone or iPad, now they are an essential part of my creative tool box.

(The painting featured above is “Lupin by Canal Bridge”. The painting can be viewed by clicking here.)

 

Painting by Debra Hunter
Studio H / Hunter Photographics

www.thehuntergroup.ca

 

 

Fall Portrait Sitting Fees for Photography – Hunter Photographics – Red Deer, Alberta

red deer outdoor child portrait

Fall portrait of a child taken in Coronation Park, Red Deer.

With the arrival of fall colors, I’ve had a lot of inquiries regarding sitting fees for family portraits. As my website is more of an information site rather than a selling site I thought I would share the pricing on the blog instead. The prices listed are for either studio photography or location photography within the Red Deer city limits. Prices are in effect until October 30th, 2014. Please feel free to send us an email or text, or give us a call with any questions you may have. All our contact information is available at www.thehuntergroup.ca .

Sitting Fees

One to five people ………….$75.00
Six to eight people ……….…..$105.00
Nine to twelve people ..……..$120.00
Over thirteen people ..………$155.00

***Please contact us for special pricing on business head shots.

blog H

Photography by Debra Hunter
Family, baby, pregnancy, wedding and business photography in Red Deer, Alberta.
403-588-4032

www.thehuntergroup.ca

Going for a Spin

Sometimes the Classified Ads in the newspaper provide new experiences you don’t expect. Back in the summer my dad came across an ad in the paper, “bags of wool for sale, $20.00″. He knew I had been doing all sorts of knitting projects and thought I might be interested. It did seem interesting. We called up the seller and arranged to buy a bag. She didn’t know much about the wool, she was selling it for her sister who had bought it from a neighbor in rural Alberta. Genuine mystery wool. I wasn’t too sure how I was going to use it, maybe felt it or worse case use it for stuffing……well a lot of stuffing as it was a huge bag the size of a garbage bag stuffed tight.

turkish spindleInitially I used the wool to stuff a few mini crochet toys, this didn’t make a dent in the bag of wool. Then one day in late August I took a trip to a woolen mill and in the shop  Turkish spindles. were being sold. I had watched a few tutorials on-line of spinning with them, so I decided to risk the $25 and buy a spindle and see if it would work with the mystery wool.

dyed fleece With plans to try spinning the mystery wool I started popping bits of fleece in random dye pots as I dyed yarn or fabric. There was no real plan, I just thought it would be more fun to try and spin the wool if it was colored.

spinning on a turkish spindleI will admit it took a little to get the hang of spinning the fleece. The hook on the spindle gave me some trouble. I actually took the good old X-Acto knife to the hook to allow it to grab the yarn better; I may still have to carve out the hook portion a little more. The first tiny ball of yarn took forever, but as I spun more and more it went a lot quicker and easier.

blog spinning 3I spun seven small balls in total, enough to give me a taste of spinning with the spindle.

plying the hand spun yarnThe next step was to ply the yarns together. I was really looking forward to seeing the colors combine. The concept of plying was easy, the only issue is that the hook doesn’t seem to hold the yarn in place very well and keeps slipping off. I tried all sorts of fancy tying, winding and twisting, I even briefly attempted holding the yarn in place with an elastic band (did not work!), but the yarn kept slipping off.

plyed hand spun yarnI am continuing to persevere with the plying. The mixed colors look great and will be so fun to knit up. I am wondering if I need to pick up a separate spindle for plying, perhaps a spindle that has a metal hook instead of a carved wooden hook. I am thinking that may work more successfully with plying such a chunky yarn. Still, I think it has been a fairly successful first time spinning experience with mystery wool.