During Christmas this year we looked through old pictures, Gayle made us each our own bag of photos that were of us or our family. They were so funny to look through, the hairstyles and clothes that we wore.... what was wrong with us? Then we got into old tavern pictures, there is as big a box from the tavern as there is from the family. There were ball tournament pics of us sitting there with playpens, strollers, blankets, every toy the kids probably owned just to keep them busy all day.... all weekend while we watched the games and helped with the beer stand. We made beer can top chains (remember the ones that you pulled off), drank upside down shots, played neon beer sign guitars, danced, sang..... we did just about everything and we did that every weekend. I remember just having Lynn, no money but we saved our change so we could go out to the bar and spend our entire Sunday there. I grew up in the bar so that was no big deal to me to have children hanging out in the bar, eating both meals there and playing in the parking lot or horseshoe pits. Don't judge me...... my kids turned out just fine. That was where our family was, they weren't at home so to be with mom, dad, brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts.... you were at the bar. You would think our little girls needed to nap during that long day.... what do you think those pool tables are for.
There were many pictures of my mom during her crazy days as a bartender. She didn't drink much but she joined in with all the craziness that happened there just fine. The pictures of my dad seemed to be a pattern that we all noticed and commented about. He was always right in the middle of what was going on. He was the one dancing the hardest, laughing the most, always had a girl or two or three on his arm, playing his stump fiddle, and just having fun. He never aged with all the years of photos, my dad still looks the same, must have been all the fun he had over the years that kept him young. Bar life certainly isn't for me anymore. I can't imagine taking my grandkids to the bar to hang out for a day or worse yet an entire weekend. Bar life sounds fun but it's a lot of work, my mom and dad worked hard.... and played hard and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Farm kid I was not but I could handle that bar life just fine. I could waitress up a storm, make drinks in my sleep, drink dad's shots when he lost in a dice game and bullshit with the best of them old bar flys. And that's when I was 13 :)
How I got off on that story is crazy because today's photo has nothing to do with that..... after we got done with the photos we looked through Granny and Grandma's old piano music. It is so old that the paper just crumbles. There is some from 1940 and older in that box. Well since it's so old you certainly can't use it to play piano so I took some to recycle into something we can preserve for at least a few more hundred years. I have lots of plans but may have to wait for warmer summer weather for those projects but this one was quick and simple. Here are a couple of bracelets that I made from the sheet music. They are really cute with the right stylish outfit and I know where they came from so that makes it even better.
Every year the kids get a new ornament for their tree and I take their picture with it. Someday they will have all their ornaments and a book with all their pictures in it. The challenge is finding all those years with the many computers that I have gone through over the years.... Elly even has film days, oh boy I have my work cut out for me. Probably easier for me to start now vs later..... winter project.
I made a book for John's mom and dad for Christmas of the Hemmer Ugly Christmas Sweater Party and they loved it. Grandma called tonight and said she had the pages worn out already.
Elly and Garrett have come over to visit so much before the holidays that one day without them it's too quiet. Miss El has certainly grew up to be quite the little lady this last year. She loves to read just like her mother, her nose is always in a book. She could care less about clothes and sometimes when she dresses herself looks like quite the little rag-a-muffin but the cutest rag-a-muffin I know. She doesn't like her hair messed with and hates when I comb it. This year for her Christmas concert I bought her fancy ponytail holders and told her I wanted them in or I wasn't coming..... if she came out on stage without her hair up I was leaving.... Grandpa yelled at me and told El I would be there no matter what. Well she had her hair up with her special ponytail holders and her Great Grandmothers Santa earrings, she was the cutest singer there (wink, wink)....... and she made the local paper, a really close up picture and the caption of being all decked out for Christmas. See Elly Grandma is pretty smart :) She might not like clothes but she loves.... loves.... loves shoes. If she would ask for anything it would be boots, shoes and sandals in every color. I got her new boots for Christmas that match Grandma's, of course.
Mr G-man is growing so fast I can't even remember him being little like Max. He is starting to not be such a momma's boy and loving his Grandma and even somedays his Grandpa. He is all boy with his tractors, legos, cars, legos, trailers, legos, blocks, legos. He is Adam's twin. He is the main reason for visiting often, he begs for his Grandma and when he's here he's such a busy little guy digging through all Adam's legos that I think that was his mission and just uses Grandma. He'll take walks out to the garage in the dark by himself just to hang out with Grandpa..... Grandpa really likes that. He's still loving his "my Kellwe" and talks about her often, since he has a late birthday he'll be with her a couple more years so hopefully she loves her "my Garwett" as much as he loves her. He's holding the tractor she gave him and oh boy when we couldn't find it when it was time to leave we had to tear the house apart.
Here are my Miss El and Mr Garrett-man on Christmas Eve
Mallory and Max are quite the opposite and the same as Elly and Garrett. Mally also hates her hair being touched and has her nose in a book all the time. Now when she ask you to read her a book she has to have one too and reads her own. I'm not sure if she listens to me read but when I stop she'll let me know I'm not done. She's very fashionable when momma dresses her but when she is home or playing in the yard she is another cute little rag-a-muffin. She hates shoes or socks, barefoot is how you will find her summer or winter. She is a mini-Lynn in looks and her actions, it's hard for me not remember my days with Lynn being this age when she's around. All the other grandkids have their own looks and don't resemble my kids except for her. I asked Mally if I could take her pictures and she told me "no" so I said..... since I know she loves cookies..... "I'll give you a cookie if you let me" So she did and I gave her a cookie. I'm thinking I'm pretty smart until after every pictures that night she wanted a cookie and fruit snacks to get her eye drop medicine. She is her mother with that sweet tooth.
Maxwell..... Mr Max..... Mad Max.... I love this little boy and it's hard to believe he'll be 1 in 4 months. It seems like just yesterday we were waiting for his appearance as Lovey (remember his name was going to be Lovey) He's starting to sit up and play so nice but when he wants his momma watch out. On Christmas Day he sat so well by Grandpa and played for the longest time (of course Grandpa reminds me daily since then that he loved his Grandpa). When I seen him last week if finally dawned on me who he looks like. He looks like my brother Randy's son Beau... which looks like Randy.... which looks like an Emmerich. He is just plain cute and you can't help but snuggle him (if he'll let you). Sunday everyone had to feel his cubby little legs, they are just tempting to squeeze. Looks like he'll be a barefoot kid too. I know Lynn and Jesse call him Max most of the time but to me so far he is a Maxwell.
Here is Miss Mallory and Mr Maxwell on Christmas Eve
This little princess came over before the holidays for a few newborn pics. She is so tiny and did not give into the sleeping mode we wished for. Here she was just comfy in her fuzzy blankets and I pushed those eyelids down just long enough for one click of the camera. Push, click, push, click, push..... She wasn't feeling very well this morning, she was a little fussy the night before and mom even thought about canceling but she did fine. If that was crabby this momma's got it made.
She needed her blankie on her since she wasn't feeling very well. We needed to do whatever she wanted and she wanted her blankie!!
I played around with some textures tonight.
Big brother was so good waiting for his baby sister to get comfortable.... he calls her "my baby" and was constantly giving her little kisses.
They all looked so cute but it's hot in Grandma's house so Garrett has already stripped off his nice shirt. They did not ask once to open presents and they got out the old toys and played for a long time. They are just happy and excited to be together that presents didn't even matter. They did have fun opening them later but not as much fun as Grandma and Grandpa as they watched their children be parents and share in their excitement during this special time.
Merry Christmas to Everyone and may the New Year bring you peace, good health and joy.
Shannon brought me two decorations that her and the kids did over the weekend. She is becoming quite the little crafter girl. I know she doesn't want this to happen because then she would have to be like her mother, aunts, grandmother, great grandmother...... and many generations she does not even know. This just happens and we have to create beautiful things and share them with others.
Thank you Shannon, Miss El and Garrett - I Love Them
Lynn texted me on Sunday night
Lynn - "If I'm making cut outs with the kids does that mean I'm all grown up?
Me - "Yes"
Lynn - "If Jesse is in the garage while I'm doing this, does that mean I married my dad?"
Me - "You can officially call yourself your mother"
She really did marry her dad and she really is me - lucky kids..... hee hee hee
This family is growing..... hard to believe it started with three socks. Lynn, Shannon and Adam have the ugliest socks..... but that's what we could afford back then. It's such a reminder every year when I pull these out that we made it..... we are a family that is still together and growing. The priest that married us told us on our wedding day that we'd be divorced in 6 months and he didn't know why he was wasting his time. If only he could see us now!!
Ever try to take pictures in front of a window and just get black inside but nice color outside? If you can shoot in manual mode and understand metering try this. Stand in front of the window place your focus point on something outside or in my case below I placed my focus point on the outer edges of the star. and meter for correct exposure. Take the photo. Even though you are focusing on something in the house you will have good exposure for outside and black/dark inside.
Now go right up to the items in front of the window, place your focus point onto the items (in my case the green mirror) and expose for correct exposure, don't take the picture. Now back up again and focus again in my case on the edges of the star. DO NOT CHANGE THE EXPOSURE, it will appear way over on the right (+) side but that's okay. Take the picture. Now what you exposed for will be correct but the outside is totally blown out.
Now....... when you're taking pictures on Christmas morning and the kids are opening their gifts in front of the patio door with the bright morning sunshine this is not the time to try it.
My first photo I exposed in the middle of getting the correct exposure for the outside and inside which resulted in color for both items.
The red velvet deer and little house are from my Grandma Emmerich. I remember as a kid peeling the velvet off things like this...... it was so much fun, kinda like peeling sunburn or labels off my beer bottles. If you've ever had a drink with me my beer bottles are squeaky clean by the time I'm done drinking it. I have all I can do not to peel the velvet from this little deer. It's hurry up get it in it's place and don't touch it again.
Don't let the advent day 14 fool you into thinking I had by tree up early. I don't know what I was thinking by putting myself up to this challenge during this busy time of year. I've been crazily trying to get everyones orders done and getting my own orders completed to not even have time to think about adding more photos so today (18th) I am back dating to make it look good. :)
John and I were out in the garage setting it in the stand and my throat is already itching and I'm rubbing my face and he says........ "you're already allergic, why don't we buy a fake tree"?
Because I can't..... as I sit here tonight itching my throat, sneezing, red face, runny nose..... maybe fake is the way to go for us.
It gets better the longer it's in here but then when it starts to dry out it starts all over again. I have about 5-7 days of no allergies with it and we've figured out how to make them land on Christmas.
I have a pretty plain tree but I like it like that. White and silver ornaments, red and copper bulbs, white lights and dried hydrangeas. Some year I'll buy new ornaments and change it up but for now it looks like my style.
No flash just the lights of the tree. The inside of the tree just glows with the led bulbs. The dark edges are from the branches closer to the lens that are not in focus and lit up by the lights.
If you haven't ever achieved bokeh from Christmas lights you have to try it. It is so fun and addicting that you'll fill up those memory cards just messing around with it.
Here is my favorite from this location. Why a pear? I don't know I just like it. Could it be the partridge knocked it out of the pear tree?
The next 2 photos are shot with the same settings as the one above but you'll notice a huge difference and I'll try to explain why and how I achieve this dreamy bokeh (colored bubbles in background).
I used my favorite fixed lens 50mm f1.4
This lens is on my camera 99% of the time, if you have some Christmas cash and want a fun lens try, the 50mm f1.8 it's only about $100 and worth every penny but I warn you after you give that a try you'll be wanting the 50mm f1.4 which is a little over $300. The $100 lens is just that a cheaper version but so fun. Then in my case you'll be wanting the 50mm L f1.2 (Merry Christmas to me??)
The settings on my camera are
ISO - 800 (late afternoon in a dark kitchen)
Shutter Speed - 1/30 (okay to hand hold with the 50mm lens but needs practice)
Aperture - f1.4
Stood back away for the cupboard and focused on the pear. As you can see there are many items in focus that are on the same plane as the pear but behind the pear is in focus also. The lights are lit and pretty but no bokeh on this shot.
Settings are the same for everything. I just moved closer (you have to move your feet with a fixed lens..... no zoom). Now the pear is in focus and the jars are pretty focused but the basket and lights are starting to blur and produce bokeh.
Now if you go back up to the first photo you'll notice I pulled the pear closer to my lens and that is all that is in focus and you get dreamy bokeh.
Sometimes as much as we prepare the small children for getting their pictures taken and to promise them ice cream or going to Grandmas when they are done they will surprise you with whatever they want to do. Miss M came over to my house very excited to get her pictures taken and then she became shy and didn't want anything to do with it.
This is how we started out, Miss M is just quiet and not willing to smile but we can deal with that. I can break her shell and get some smiles out of her. The most important thing to do is let them be comfortable and if they don't want to smile, they don't have to.
Daddy can fix this, if she can just sit by daddy she will bring on some smiles....... that's what I thought anyway but Miss M had different plans for me. But who wouldn't want this family photo documenting daddy's little girl.
I promised to show her the pictures on the back of the camera and with that she's actually moving a little further away from daddy's chest, no smiles but she is starting to talk to me.
We almost called it good, the worst thing to do is make taking their photos an event that will scar them for all their future photos. We tried to get Miss M to sit by herself but she wasn't going for any of that, until we brought out puppy and elmo. We got some smiles..... hiding behind puppy but her eyes are smiling.
Now she has become my friend smiling big smiles.
These are smiles you get after serving fruit snacks. Lots of red ones right Miss M?
Miss M had plenty of good smiles for me and some beautiful family photos but having those shy sad little eyes in the beginning is priceless.