July 29, 2010

scratch that.

Shadow is one of my favourites to take pictures of. Mostly because he doesn't mind having his photo taken and he is a very photogenic dog. Here is a set of six photos I took within about eight seconds of each other.
gettin' his scratch on
He sure does enjoy a good scratch.

July 27, 2010


Definitely been blogging less because the summer is just too good (and short) to pass up any opportunity to be out and about. For example, this is a photo I took of an amazing field of sunflowers just down the highway from where I live. Too good, right?
Driving by it this past week I've been longing to take a picture of it. Now that I have a picture, I want to share it with you. Hope you're enjoying your summer and the moments in the sun.

July 21, 2010


This is a picture of the button tufted camera bag made by Britt who blogs at Cucumbersome.
I am inspired. I want to baby my camera too. Right now it just gets shoved in my purse.

That's no way to treat a camera.

So I'm inspired by Britt's design and am working at fashioning a similar case for my own SLR. I'll share more with you when it's complete.

July 16, 2010

diana results.

Way back in November I shared with you the little crush I had on the diana camera. I also made promises to post the first photos from diana for you. Well, it's over half a year later and I have finally completed and developed my first roll of film. I am pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out because every time I took a photo I was worried that it wasn't going to work out; that either I moved and it would be blurry or that I held the shutter open for too long. I feel like I had a pretty good success rate. 17 out of the 20 photos I remember taking were deemed suitable enough to process according to the place I got the film developed. Not bad for a first try. Here are some of my favourites.

My biggest problem was making sure my object was in the centre of my frame, something I'll concentrate on better next time. I've already loaded up the diana again (this time to take square photos) and am looking forward to becoming even better at using her.

July 15, 2010

alphabet walk blog hop: the letter q.

Today I'm participating in the Alphabet Walk Blog Hop initiated by One Sydney Road. If this is your first time at Brown Boots, welcome! It's so nice of you to come visit. To paraphrase Seasame Street, the letter of the day is Q.

This first set of photos are a literal interpretation of the letter Q.

This second set is composed of photos where there is a Q-lettered attribute of these summer scenes.

Hope you enjoyed these. Feel free to browse around the rest of the site and see what else is happening here at Brown Boots.


July 8, 2010

book club: the secret life of bees.

Last night was book club night and we had a lot of fun discussing our book for June The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Set in South Carolina in 1964, this is the story of fourteen year old Lily Owens who leaves home in search of freedom from her oppressive/abusive father and answers about her mother who was killed when Lily was four. She ends up in Tiburon, South Carolina after her stand-in mother/black nanny insults three very racist men from her hometown. In Tiburon she meets the black beekeeping Boatwright sisters, August, June, and May. Lily discovers the worlds of beekeeping and honey, the Black Madonna, and the power of sisterhood. This is a novel that inspires and makes you feel good.

One of the topics we discussed last night was how prominent race issues were in the book but how, at the same time, it didn't feel like Sue Monk Kidd was shoving the issue into the spotlight. Instead she artfully and subtly weaves issues of race in South Carolina in the 1960s into the story line. As a reader, you are able to feel the injustice of race politics even more strongly because of how she shows you the difficulties, she doesn't just tell you about them. That is the mark of a great author.

We also discussed the importance of sisterhood and community and how difficult it is feeling like you do not belong anywhere. We also spent a lot of time talking about T. Ray, Lily's dad (but as she says "I called T. Ray because 'Daddy' never fit him). We talked about who he truly was, if he ever told the truth, and if he was more involved in the killing of Lily's mom than he ever lets on in the novel. We also spent some time discussing what happens in the future for Lily, Zach, August, and the Daughters of Mary. It was really fun imagining beyond the story together. Shelley did a great job leading the discussion asking really interesting and poignant questions that really got us thinking.

Overall, this was a great book club night sitting out on the balcony - because it was just too stinkin' hot inside - with iced tea, lemonade, and great discussion. For the month of July we are reading The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill (a Burlington, Ontario based writer, so close to home). Feel free to join us while we aim to read it by August 3rd. Did you read The Secret Life of Bees with us or have you read it before? If so, what did you think of it? What did you love and what did you not? Leave your comments below.

July 2, 2010

blog love: more favourite freebies.

Okay, so this week I have shared all my secrets. Secrets of where I find all the awesome online graphic freebies, that is. I want to leave you with two sites that you probably already know and love, but if you don't know about them, you'll probably be happy I told you.
deviantART is a hub of artistry online. I like to use it for stock images but especially textures. You can spend hours searching around the site just admiring all the different graphics and textures that are offered. Have fun.

The second site I want to share with you should be no stranger for those who love fonts. dafont.com has hundreds, if not thousands, of fonts that are available both for a cost and for free. These fonts are created by different individuals and are categorized, making it is easy to find the font you need for a specific project. Some of my favourite fonts right now are Jane Austen, Traveling Typewriter, Learning Curve, DJ Kitchen. Hope you enjoy browsing through the variety of fonts and looking for your own favourites.
What are your favourite places for freebies on the web? Any of your favourites I've missed? Please share your favourite freebie hide-outs by leaving a comment below.

And since it is Friday, I'll leave you for the weekend with a few different things that I liked or felt inspired by this week:

Beautiful wedding invitations by Betsywhite (via snippet & ink).

This Tennessee mountain wedding (via Style Me Pretty)

Colourful crochet craft.

Have a great weekend!

July 1, 2010

blog love: pioneer woman.

Happy Canada Day! For those of us in Canada today is a day for barbeques, cottaging, spending time with family and friends, and fireworks. Food too, lots of food. So I guess it is appropriate that today's freebie comes from a lady who also has a cook book and whole recipe section to her blog. Ree, the Pioneer Woman, is a power blogger. By that I mean that her beautiful website includes a variety of categories, from cooking and homeschooling, to confessions and photography, this is one well-rounded blog.
But it is the photography section that I want to focus on today. Ree and a few others occasionally offer tutorials on how to use Photoshop and your camera better and often there are photography contests on the blog (with sweet prizes like Photoshop and DSLR cameras or Kitchen Aid stand mixers). Ree has done something really special though for those of us who use Photoshop. She has composed two different sets of actions (get them here). What is an action you ask? It is a package of predetermined adjustments and layers that go over your original photo to make it look softer, or more vintage, or brighter, or something different. I love Ree's actions because once it is done running it becomes one layer whereas other free actions I've used merge onto your original photo, so there is less flexibility in using them and testing them out on your photo. Of course they are also adjustable, meaning that you can change the opacity of the action if you feel it is too strong in its original form (some of them are meant to be adjusted even). Ree's actions are free and she has two sets of them. The first set includes actions called Lovely and Ethereal, Vintage, B&W Beauty, Boost, Quick Edge Burn, Old West, and Define & Sharpen. The second set of actions include Warmer, Cooler, Dim the Lights, Colorized, Sunshine, Bring Out The Eyes, Seventies, Heartland, Sharpen THIS!, and Sepia Tone. They are perfect to use those times that you do not want to spend lots of time fixing up a photo but it just needs a little pick-me-up. If you haven't discovered the Pioneer Woman Actions on your own before now, I hope you love them and, like me, wonder what you ever did before without them.

Thank you Ree for making such easy to use and wonderfully simple actions for Photoshop that even a beginner like me can use to make my photos four times better than anything I could do on my own!
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