Saturday, February 18, 2017

A New Blog

Blogger has been good to me....the years I've shared here have been amazing and I've met some wonderful people!  So please don't leave without coming over to sweetmelaniedesign.com.  It's been a dream of mine to have my own web page, and some day to be able to sell some things too.  So this new adventure is the beginning of my dream coming true! 

I'll keep posting and sharing my web page for a few months here, to make sure everyone knows.  I don't want to lose any of you and I'm hoping that communicating with everyone will be a lot easier than it has been here.

Thanks everybody for being in my life...I love you all dearly!



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Photography Woes

I have been having photography woes off and on ever since I purchased my entry level Nikon D3200 dslr a few years ago.  Sometimes, I would get sharp images and then most of the time I would have what I call "soft" photos.  It drove me insane!  I have talked to many photographers practically begging for advice on what to do.  Of course they would all tell me to take a class.  That's a nice thought, but hello, I live in West Virginia and the classes consist of sitting in a small class of people listening to the beginner's guide.  I'm already past that stage...I just wanted someone to help me with the settings on my camera.  And then online classes consisted of the same thing practically and both were expensive.  I was doing everything I have been told to do and still this is what I was getting.


Sure, it looks pretty, but can you see that it has a soft look to it?

I adjusted my camera settings over and over, taking this same shot about 50 times, lol!  I finally talked to a friend on the phone almost begging for help after spending an entire day focusing on my camera, watching video after video, reading blog after blog and whatever else I could study up on after endless google searches!  I was ready to buy a new camera!

We talked about ISO and how we had been told to always try and shoot in the lowest ISO setting for best quality.  But when I would do that, I would have so much noise in my photos, especially when I began to edit. Well that wasn't working evidently.

Still confused, I began to fool with setting my ISO to 400, 800, 1600 and testing photos in low light.  That's where I always ended up having the "soft" photos....when the lighting wasn't the greatest.  Outside photos always ended up being ok unless it was over cast.  I knew my lens kit was allowing enough aperture in, so I was really confused.

Finally, I adjusted my ISO to 800 and this was my results!


See the difference?!
Oh how I began to see hope...finally!  I had thought that maybe I had a dud of a camera since all of my lenses produced the same images.


So then I used my telephoto lens and captured this...giving me hope yet once again!  I still need to work on a few things, but at least when you zoom in, you can see details rather than fuzzy details.


This photo was taken in natural lighting but was overcast outside.  With some brightening, this is all of the editing that was needed.  No noise to reduce or anything!  And you can see details!


Colors were right and the details are headed in the right direction for once!


And if any of you edit your photos, you all know when you lighten and brighten, details start to fade.  Not anymore!  Look at the grain on the wood floor...you can actually see it!  


For years, I have struggled with capturing a photo in this spot.  The mirror frame would always fade in with the wall after editing.  Now look at it!  The frame actually stands out.

I finally see a light at the end of the tunnel!


So here's my advice.  Fool around with your settings, take lot's of the same shot and compare.  And don't be afraid to do what they tell you not to do, lol.  It made no sense to up my ISO to such a high number to be able to capture sharper images in natural lighting from everything I read and was told...but look how it greatly improved my photos.

Of course, there all different setting combos for different types of photography.  I'm not taking a portrait, a landscape or an up close one most of the time so finding a setting that works for capturing some detail was what I was so desperately wanting.  And I think I am finally on the right track!

I hope you're having a great week...I know mine is going better now, lol!




Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sewing, Crafting and Laughing

Things around here are never boring for me.  There is always something to do, create and laugh about.  First, I will start off with how my sweetheart tried to be of some help by refilling our soap dispenser.  Wasn't he sweet in doing that?


When I seen that it had been refilled, I couldn't for the life of me figure out why the soap was so blue.  I asked what soap he had used and his response was the soap in the cabinet.  My nose has been stuffy, but today, I smelled ammonia.  That's when I knew what he had done, lol!


No wonder my hands were getting so dry!  I have laughed all evening!

Now for the sewing part....


I had been wanting to make curtains for under the bench.  So I used some Bella Rose blue fabric I had left over and made some.  I really like it!


I also made a curtain for the mantle insert.  Sorry I don't have a better photo of the whole curtain.  I'll get one later.

When I start sewing, I don't want to stop.  So I decided to make some new shades for downstairs, then I ended up making one for upstairs too.


 Here are the ones I made for downstairs and painted a lamp.  The shade on the blue ball lamp wasn't made by me, I bought it that way from ebay.



I had some vintage shades that were dry rotted.  They have the prettiest lines!


I used some of the candy pink Shabby Chic fabric for the shade.  It definitely added some sweetness to this corner!


I love the British Rose fabric on these shades!  I have so many and they all look lovely against the blue walls.

I had a mess to clean up , but I ended up doing some crafting instead.


I bought this white felt heart at Michaels.  All they had were red and white so I decided to use some Rit Dye I had to make it pink.  



After allowing it to dry over night, it turned out perfectly!


I found this gorgeous Peony at Pier One during Christmas.  Then I found the mercury glass vase and the wooden heart at Michaels.  The heart got a makeover with some white and pink paint.


It looks so cute in the cloche' I made from a light fixture.  I am just having so much fun with Valentine's Day this year!


And I've been baking and cooking but you'll just have to imagine all of that since we ate it all!


I found these red hearts at Michaels and decided to make my own wreath from a pine Christmas wreath that I shaped into a heart.  Everything is so drab outside, having the pine and the red makes it feel so inviting when you enter onto the porch.


I added them everywhere, even on the garland hanging from the roof.  But I couldn't get any good photos of them, so you'll have to imagine that too.

The red Valentine Heart pillow is one that I made in clothing class in middle school.  I loved sewing then and still do today!


The pine trees I made were perfect for those red hearts!


They just look so stinkin' cute!

Have you had any fun,like I have,with decorating for Valentines Day?  I hope so!

Now I'm ready for some Valentines candy, how about you?






Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Little Shampoo and Conditioner Review

I'm going to tell you abut a shampoo and conditioner that is absolutely amazing and inexpensive!
It's called Bed Head Resurrection level 3.


If any of you suffer from thyroid issues, you know what it's like to lose hair, and lot's of it.  
Also, when you bleach your hair , you know how damaged it can get.  Not to mention the breakage!

I bought this at our local Krogers, for a little over $20 for both.  
I cannot stand to use products on my hair because of the residue or heaviness they can give.  So I am always looking for a shampoo and conditioner that makes your hair feel clean and healthy.  I'm a wash and style with hairspray kind of gal.  Once in awhile I'll use a dry shampoo if I'm feelin' lazy.  But that's it for me.  No mousse, gel or anything for volume.  I have lot's of hair, thank goodness...or I'd be bald by now! 

This stuff is it!  It smells fruity, and it leaves your hair feeling so soft and slick but not flat and heavy.  I've used it 3 times now and my youngest daughter has to.  We both love it!

I used to lose hair by the wads after showering.  Now I am losing just a little bit on my hairbrush.  I used to have to clean my brush 3 times after washing my hair.  Now I just do it once and it  really isn't needed.

I use a flat iron to curl and straighten my hair.  They tend to dry out your ends.  I am sold on this shampoo and am gonna stock up on it for all of us gals that live in this house.  It even makes my bleached hair shine!  

This was just a quick post using my cell pics, but take my word for it...this stuff is great!






Thursday, January 19, 2017

Just a Little Office Update

I told you guys the other day that I was thinking about doing something different with the other computer, and I did it!


The girls come down and play Mine Craft here.  One plays on their laptop and the other plays on this computer.  I had a trey stand Mom had bought me for my birthday that they would use,  but it was too low and would make their backs hurt.  

Being the good Mom that I am, I figured out a way to have the desk and the China Cabinet to both be accessible for them to use.


I came up with the idea to make it into a computer china cabinet.


And with that, there always comes a big mess!

We took out one shelf and the two drawers.  I bought a keyboard shelf and hardware to add, but the shelf itself was too deep.  So we used a piece of wood I had stashed in the garage.

We already had the computer and printer in the bottom of the cabinet.


It worked out perfectly, and all for around $35! Now the girls have two spots to play and guess what?  I am so thrilled that  the black monitor is now finally hidden!


I wanted to keep everything that we took off, in tact so if I ever want to make it back into a china cabinet, I can.  So we made a faux drawer front with hinges and I added an applique and the old drawer pulls.  The drawers and shelf are stored away for now.
I loved how the baskets were seen so I decided to only do curtains up to the bottom of the shelf.  


Not too bad...I'm sure I will be changing something up soon with it though, lol.  But for now, they can have their space and be comfortable side by side!

On another note, I had an editor from Weranda Country Magazine contact me wanting to use a photo of mine for one of their publications.  

Here's the article:


Here's the translation.
Behind the curtain
Put away her kitchen equipment and utensils, dressing room or bedroom. It gets warm and romantic!

The wall, under the sink, behind the bed.
Install the shelves in the drive Bay, on the stick hang patterned fabric and wardrobe ready. Top Velcro under the sink trailers on the self-adhesive Velcro, and this under the sink on the line or a curtain rod to cafè curtains. If a thick curtain you can hang clothes on the front door, will act as a windscreen. And tulle Ethereal curtain will replace the bed headboard.

It's exciting to think about being in a magazine in another part of the world.

So that's how I've spent the past few days and nights, lol!  
I hope all of you are doing well and are happy and loved!




Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January Always Brings Organization

It seems like after Christmas decorations are put away, I tend to do some much needed organizing!

We had let our desk area go to pot.  Not throwing away mail, laying things down in places they didn't go,  all because of laziness.  Laziness....something I can't stand!


I had been staring at this mess for far too long, and let me tell ya...no one else was going to straighten it up besides me.

It may not look like a big mess, but what you don't see is all of the junk in those drawers and baskets.  And not to mention, that dirty four letter word 
D-U-S-T!


I finally bit the bullet and dove right in!  Oh my, how much better it all feels and looks now!

And let me add, there was so much garbage taken out of here.  One large trash bag...can you believe it?


I love this space...even more now with it being spotless and pretty again!


We have two computers and I'm thinking about doing another layout soon along with ripping that carpet up and laying down wood floors.  Wide, white planks!  That's all I have been dreaming about for the past few months.  I can see those gorgeous floors making this space look way better than that creamy carpet and linoleum. That'll come later when tax season is over, lol.


But until then, I am going to enjoy this clean space for however long it may last!

Do you do any purging, organizing, throwing stuff away, getting rid of junk after the holidays?  

Boy, I sure do!




Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Pink Hearts

I've never really decorated all out for Valentine's Day nor any other holiday other than Christmas.  I've done a little, but never like this.    After taking down the Christmas decorations, everything seemed so blah.  
I ran across some hearts I had bought many years ago from Dollar Tree and thought, "I might as well use them."



These hearts are  more of a bright pink than I'm used to, but they are glitter-ey so that makes me happy.  The paper hearts match perfectly and add a nice lovely hue to all of my white.  The Christmas cherub looks so cute with the hearts, don't ya think?  I can just see a little cherub with her bow and arrow ready to shoot someone full of love.


I added some to the topiary that lights up.  They just add a little whimsy....


It definitely makes the winter blahs more fun since we haven't had much snow.  As long as I have snow, I am happy...but all we've been getting is warm temps and rain.  Bleckh!


It all started with the window wall with the pine and lights.  I really didn't want to take them down and have the space look bare.  So....I added the paper hearts to the window panes and then stuck the foam hearts to the pine.  I found my pink heart wreath and added it to the top.  It's just so pretty to look at...the picture doesn't do it justice!


This wreath usually adorns the front door, but until winter is over, I think it'll be prefect right here...at least for Valentine's Day.


Being able to stick the hearts right onto the pine made this decorating pretty easy!


More hearts were added to the candles.  Notice the little cherub laying on it's belly?  She got a paint job last night, she's all fresh and new again!


I've tried pink silk flowers, but they just don't look right.  The white makes it easier to pair things together nicely.  The pale pink heart pillow was found at Home Goods back a few months ago.  A nice little touch, I think.


I have this wreath hanging on a mirror.  It looked a little boring, so I added the foam hearts...and I liked it!


I love this corner of the room...that chest is one of my most favorite pieces.  


These pink "I love you" candles were the right fit for this bird bath.  They add just enough pink too.


They add to the Valentine's feel along with the frame I've had for years.


Now totally off topic, I found this peony at Pier One at Christmas time and couldn't pass it up.  Doesn't it look real?!  I added it to the vase with roses in it.


On the back side of the window wall, the paper hearts look more like a pale pink which I LOVE!  I had the white rose wreath and thought that it'd look perfect here.  And I was right!


Years ago, I made the heart bunting from some cardboard, paper I printed out with some floral images and glitter.  I had all of this stuff in a drawer....can you believe it?


The pink ornaments were just too pretty to put up, so they found a spot hanging with the bunting.


 I'm really pleased with how everything turned out and to not have to spend a dime, well that makes it even sweeter!

I'm ready for Valentine's Day, are you?