Experimenting with Aperture

I played around with Manual Mode for a little while. But then one day the pictures started coming out too bright. I couldn’t for the life of me understand how to change the settings. Every time I found a blog post on how to use Manual Mode, it always pertained to a Canon camera and I just wasn’t understanding it. Have I told you lately how much I love Pinterest? I happened upon a pin from this lovely lady that happens to have the same camera I use. And now.I.get.it. Sort of.

Aperture is expressed as F-stop, e.g. F2.8 or f/2.8. The smaller the F-stop number (or f/value), the larger the lens opening (aperture). Aperture is a space through which light passes in an optical or photographic instrument, especially the variable opening by which light enters a camera.

So I did as Aimee suggested and went from smallest to largest, on the same item. I just should have done it earlier, before the natural light was almost gone. Tomorrow I will try out her suggestion on ISO. Then shutter speed. But maybe I need to try aperture in better light too. aperture

I used grapes. And focused on a grape that was closest to the lamp I had shining right on them. Each picture got darker and darker and by the end I had to move back a tad so that the shutter would actually click. I can’t wait to try out the other settings.

Pops of Yellow Everywhere

There is this place in Albuquerque, by the river, called Bachechi Open Space. There are trails, wetlands, a nursery. A very lovely place, especially this time of year. That might just be one of my favorite places.park

I had last Friday off, due to the fact I had wanted a 3 day weekend to clean and empty my POD into the garage of the house I was supposed to close on. So I took Mr B to the orthodontist, got some breakfast and took him to school. Got my car washed. Strolled around the Open Space and took some pictures. Got my hair cut. Picked Mr B and a friend up from school and took them to their destination. It was an eventful weekend.

Mr B was with his soccer coach and son, spent the night over there. On Saturday we all met up to see Big Hero 6 (good movie) and then went to lunch. Then it was time for his indoor soccer game.

On Sunday, I made bookmarks for my RAOK while Mr B and Meezie looked on and we watched Maleficent. Then went to Arby’s for Moe’s birthday (at 8, those are the places his chooses). Had some Baskin Robbins after. I only took pictures at the Open Space though. Sometimes it is too busy to document. I was being social instead. LOL. That is big for me, these days.

Good flags

Good patriotism: New Mexico and USA flags. Good weather, no wind.

Randomrandom

As I was strolling around, I saw that this family was getting their pictures taken. I bet a photographer never thought someone else would randomly take her picture (and never knew I was there).

Funwalking dog

I watched this couple walk from behind me, all the way beyond to the path by the river. The dog was so happy to be let off the leash.

I am sharing here today: Monday Mellow Yellows and Good.Random.Fun.  I also realized my little ole blog wasn’t ready for a link-up. So I will be putting 64 Shades of Color on hold.

Week 1 of Gratitude Month

kindness14 granola bars around the indoor soccer arena | Payed it forward at Target (had to explain that one to the cashier, no one was behind us to see if she did it) | Took our Halloween candy, with some granola bars added to it, to the orthodontist for the Troops | Left a Lego toy at the same orthodontist office | Took canned food with us to the dentist office (they are matching all donations) | Left another Lego toy in the same dentist office, in the children’s waiting area | (Not shown here) Payed it forward at Chik-fil-A where I also had to explain to the cashier (we saw him tell the next car but he didn’t hand her the card) | I also left a card with 2 quarters taped on the back on the vending machine at the car wash

All in all, I feel pretty good about this week (other than a few glitches where my son got stingy). I also made up some Blessing Bags to have in the car and decided it would be a great project for our soccer team to do. We could all get together, bringing something to add, and the boys could put them together. Then, even pass them out to the homeless together. I will have to ask the coach what he thinks.

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Dress Updress up

My brother said Meezie got home from school and went and changed her clothes for Nana’s birthday dinner. She had jeans on with the dress, but is still all dressed up. I think I am going to use one of the pictures of her like this as my Little Princess prompt too, the server called her princess all night.

Candycandy

I just love this little jar with the fake little handles on the side. I meant to paint it like a pumpkin, but never got around to it. I’ll do it for next year. Can you tell me backdrop is fake wood?

Fall Colorsfall colors

I couldn’t decide between the two, so I used both. The top picture is from my parents’ backyard on Friday night, before the party started. The bottom picture was from when we walked out of Outback on Wednesday. I love our sunsets.

Trick or Treattrick treating

There were lots of tricks going on in the backyard before we went out Trick or Treating, but I talked about that already. This little girl was so cute, walking with her dad. But my camera wouldn’t focus until they had passed us. There with her little bucket of treats.

Photographer’s Choicejosh and moe

I also took this picture at dinner on Wednesday. I just love how my brother and Moe look together.

Day 31: The Final Frontier

LOL. I am hilarious. I saw where all these people had their posts written beforehand and ready to post on that day. I don’t know if I was the only one that waited to write the post the day of, but to me that is what Write 31 Days meant. Yet, I got behind the last 2 days due to very business around here. I don’t think I will post every day like before, but I will try harder to write a little more in my posts when I do.

What a weekend already. I posted yesterday about the cake I made for the Halloween party. A party that included 10 soccer boys. A baby. And some parents that stayed. My brother’s family came this way trick or treating and stopped to eat dinner. There was so much food left over. Pot lucks are the way to go. I have always wanted to have a Halloween party and decorate, we didn’t go all out but it was fun. Then a few of us took the boys trick or treating around the neighborhood. Mr B was a hot mess. I couldn’t get him to slow down for anything. The coach’s son was Godzilla. A little blow up, full piece costume. He’s a small 10 year old and it was hilarious when he would start to run across the street, his long tail trailing behind. It didn’t stay on long. comets dress up

Mr B is very uncreative and I have decided not to buy him store made costumes any more. The price for one wearing it once is crazy. I so wanted him to be a Box Troll, but he wanted to be an assassin. I tried to make him look like Arrow but it didn’t turn out that way. After heavy dart blowing play, he ended up in just jeans and his sweatshirt that zips over the face. Sheesh. I thought the minion was the cutest.

minion

A few years ago, my parents ran into this man at the park that made blow dart shooters for his grandkids. He let Mr B take one. It’s just PVC pipe, cut a certain length and the size to fit Nerf bullets (pea shooters). Then you cover the pipe with Duct tape. We had the kids all make their own for Mr B’s birthday last year and then they played with them. They had the most fun. But I have never seen any of the kids have as much fun with them as the 10 boys did on Friday. Papa made up these cubes with the mats they put under the pool and they were set up on both sides of the yard. Talk about cheap, easy fun. You can create games with them too. Like shooting at targets.

After staying up later than usual on Friday, with all that fun, I then had a full day planned yesterday. Of course I am still up before 6, but since no one else is, I play around on the computer until everyone else is awake. It was 11 before I got going, oops. I made another cake for my nephew’s birthday, went to my son’s first indoor soccer game (it was a different experience for them), frosted the cake and went to my nephew’s birthday party. I am a tired chicken today.

My nephew wanted an elaborate cake. I didn’t have that kind of time. So he got a ninja-ish cake instead. All he really needed for the success of his party was his obstacle course anyway (think American Ninja Warrior). My brother built him this

obstacle course

Luckily both mom and aunt are coaches so they brought home the mats and the balls. The course is for sale. My brother even will help take apart and go help put it back together.

Here’s the rundown on yesterday’s cake.

Ninja Brownie Cakeninja cake

Ingredients for cakes: (makes one round cake)

 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk

I made two batches, separately. Recipe from Cooking Classy.

Instructions for baking:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease two round cake pans. (I used Pam and it worked great. Last week when I tried out a half batch, I used Crisco and flour and it stuck in the pan.)
3. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
4. In a separate, bigger mixing bowl, whisk together granulated sugar, light-brown sugar and cocoa powder. Pour in melted butter and use a wood spoon to stir until combine.
5. (I just kept using the wooden spoon) Mix in eggs and vanilla extract.
6. Stir in milk.
7. Slowly add dry ingredients and stir until just combined (batter will be thick).
8. Pour batter into one cake pan.
9. Repeat with second batch.
10. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. I baked them on the top rack for 15, then the bottom rack for 15. Then I left them in the turned off oven for a few more minutes. Toothpick came out a little wet, but they set when they cooled. When I cooked them until toothpick was clean, they ended up too done.
11. Allow to cool in pans for about 45 minutes and then transfer onto a wire rack to cool. (With the Pam, nothing stayed behind in the pans.)brownie cake
12. Let cool completely before frosting.

For the marshmallow buttercream:

I made up a batch and a half of Cookies and Cups (but I don’t use as much powdered sugar and I don’t sift it) buttercream on Friday and saved part of it in the fridge. I had also made up marshmallow fluff last month and saved it in the freezer. So I just left the two out to get room temp before I mixed together until I got the flavor I wanted. More marshmallowy than buttery. I then put in some green food coloring.

Assembly of cake:

I don’t have a pretty cake platter or stand so we just used a Tupperware, upside down, with some paper plates for height. I think I need to make a stand now. So I put one cake, bottom side up, and slathered it with the plain marshmallow fluff.brownie cake2

Then I put the second cake on top of that, also bottom side up (it made for a smoother surface).

brownie cake3

After wiping away the marshmallow fluff that was coming out the side, I plopped on the green Marshmallow Buttercream and smoothed it all over the top and sides. I then roughed up the top a little before I added the decorations. I had my nephew make me some Lego people so he would be happier about not getting the elaborateness he wanted. I ran those under really hot water to sanitize them.

ninja cake2

I used straws to make the “poles” but didn’t like the colors so I covered them in Washi tape (I love that stuff). I couldn’t figure out how I was going to do the medallions, but suddenly thought that Yo-Yos would be perfect. The only ones I had made up already that weren’t girly were these red ones. But that worked. I glued on the “stars” and then cut and glued the ribbon to the back, then covered that up with a star-burst sticker. I printed out the bunting flags after adding You Are #1 in PSE. I wasn’t sure how to make that work until I had the poles in the cake so I had to tape them. Mr B positioned the Legos for me, and I think my nephew liked it. He was pretty hyped up by then. It was a popular cake, everyone that ate some, which was almost everyone, said it was really good. This one is a keeper. It was rich, but with the marshmallow flavoring, it wasn’t overpowering.

After all of this, I realized I haven’t posted my 64 Shades of Color: Blue Violet, so that will have to come later today with my Scavenger Hunt Sunday post. I also started my Gratitude November project yesterday. I already am loving this random acts of kindness thing. I will be posting all of that as I go on Instagram. My button is in my sidebar.

Day 30: Almost a Fail

There was this cake I had saved in Halloween ideas on Pinterest. When my parents decided to host the end of season soccer party on Halloween I knew I was going to make that cake. Well, at least decorate like that cake. Check out the inspiration cake here.

So on Thursday I got to making a vanilla cake (I used Cookies and Cups recipe, doubled). I shouldn’t have made it double together, just done two batches, but I messed up with the butter and had to combine both batches. It was ok, though. Just really hard to mix it all up well with a hand mixer (my lovely Kitchenaid is in storage).

I also put in some food coloring to make the cakes orange. I had my mom grease the pans for me. Not one of the three cakes came out of their pans without leaving some behind. I was bummed.

I had to work Friday and didn’t know what I was going to do. I wanted this cake to look great (I don’t know all of these people that well, I like to be somewhat impressive somewhere). So I came home and got to making my buttercream (also from Cookies and Cups, I just don’t use as much powdered sugar and I didn’t put in vanilla because I was leaving it white). I made a batch and a half because I knew I would need more on Saturday for my nephew’s cake.

I took out part of the buttercream and added chopped up Oreos to it and used this to put between the two cakes. My mom and I used a knife to go around the cake and make it more round.  Then I slathered on the white buttercream. All over the cake, filling in the bumps where cake was left in the pans. And had a pretty round cake when all was said and done. Phewww. I felt better.

I added on the eyes and came back with this creepiness. (The Double-Stuffed came apart cleaner.)

monster eye cake

I realize now that even when it isn’t completely done, don’t cook much longer because it will set. It was a little too done, but the frosting helped with that. The flavor was great, as always. Cookies and Cups‘ recipes never disappoint. Here’s looking at you.

monster eye cake2

I shared here today:30 Handmade Days Link Party Palooza and Friday Finds

Mama

 

sc_hooray_happybirthday
mama

Today we celebrated my mom’s birthday. Friday we are throwing a Halloween party for Mr B’s soccer team. I have to bake a cake for that. And I have to bake a cake for my nephew’s birthday on Saturday. I might be late to posting my last two posts. But I will get it done on Sunday, if nothing else. (I might just need to call in sick on Friday, I still have to get a birthday present and find me a new pair of shoes.)