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Saturday, July 15, 2017

July in Janetville - 365 Pictures 2017

Since we are halfway through July in Janetville, I think it's time for an update in the 365 picture project!  Here are a few of my favorites from the past couple of weeks, in no particular order:

#170 - Living so close to the airport I hear and see the planes go overhead all the time.  It is amazing to me that we do not have more accidents as I watched these 4 planes do their landing/take off dance.  There was another plane coming in that I could not quite get in the picture.
#173 - June selfie.  I get so many compliments when I wear this hat.  I love it.

#186 - My new paper collection, Master Detective.  It will go so well with my Big City Hunt pictures!  The game's afoot!

#187 - A batch of cards I made to put on my Etsy site.  I love putting my own special touches on the cards.

#172 - The picture does not really do this flower justice because the color blue is just gorgeous.  It is called a Sapphire orchid.

#182 - I may be on a healthy eating plan but every once in a while a splurge is okay.  Shared this decadent banana pudding with Bill on a recent date night at Louisiana Bistro before the Queen concert.

#183 - This is a local casino and I just recently discovered that they have lights on it that change color.  You can see the blue a little on the left of the tree and there is also a yellow, a fuchsia and a red.  It is pretty cool to watch the colors change, about every five minutes.

#194 - I wish I could think of something to use these pretty cups for.  I love the colors.

#189 - Of course we have the full moon in July.

#191 - I made this for a project I was working on with Ali Edwards called One Little Word to help document my word of the year (Believe) and how it relates to my life.  Using the paints and stencils was something I don't normally do and I love the way this turned out.  Two paints, 1 stencil and two stamps with different colored inks.  

#192 - This is another one.  I know I'm going to be doing more of this type of thing for sure.

#193 - One more.  I think the saying of "Good things take time" goes well with the spiral.  

#190 - Date night.  Our first concert of the season at the Mountain Winery.  We saw Chris Isaak.  It was a great show.

#176 - My husband got to go to AT&T Park on a special tour and got to go into the visitor's dugout and see behind the scenes.  Pretty cool experience.

#185 - We are able to do the Safe and Sane fireworks in our yard so I managed to get a couple of great shots.  It is not always easy to get a good picture but I was lucky to catch one with lots of colors and different shapes. 

I've finished the first of the two books I got to hold these pictures:

Here is what a few of them look like on the pages and how I ended the first six months.

I'm glad I decided to split the year up.  The one I did in 2013 turned out to be too stuffed for one book.

What do you think of my 365 pictures?  Do you have any projects you are working on all year?  Love to hear about it!

Friday, July 14, 2017

July in Janetville - Creative Live Classes

In my search for information on crafting I came across Creative Live.

Sign Up at CreativeLive

It is an online "classroom" filled with lots of different classes on a wide variety of subjects.  Occasionally they have free classes and I have taken a few of them so far.  One was on making concertina collage books.  Another was on making altered book boxes.  Some were on maximizing my Etsy site and one on email marketing.  I was able to view the whole class and take notes, even ask questions, all for free.  Those were just the ones I was most interested in but they also have a lot of free ones on many other subjects:

Photo and Video
Art and Design
Music and Audio
Craft and Maker
Money and Life

The free classes generally run for 24 hours so, depending on how long the class is, you can sometimes watch it twice.  You can also buy the classes so that you can download them and access them as many times as you want, something I am seriously considering doing since I just looked at the notes I took on one of the classes and I can't read my own writing!  I was taking notes too fast and incompletely.

Right now they are having a sale on some of the classes.

At only $19 it is worth it to me to buy the ones that will help me with my marketing and optimizing my Etsy site.  I may even take one on photography to enhance my concert photo skills!  Or maybe one on writing.  Perhaps I have a novel bursting to come out!

How about you?  Ever want to take an online class?  Learn some new skills or brush up on some rusty ones?  Give it a try!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on the links; however, it does not raise your prices one bit, just puts a couple dollars in my pocket for more craft supplies :)

Friday, July 7, 2017

July in Janetville - Channeling Sherlock Holmes

As you may be aware if you've read any of my recent posts (please tell me you read my posts), I am a fan of Sherlock Holmes and all things detective.  I just had to have the newest Graphic 45 paper called Master Detective:

I plan on using it for the pages I do from our Big City Hunt in May.  Perfect, don't you think?

I've also been looking for a way to make some extra money because business is slow lately and I came across a description for the smartphone app Mobee, "Make Money Mystery Shopping."  Years ago (like 35 years!) I was a mystery shopper at Mervyn's Department store.  It was a lot of fun.  I was given some money up front and I had to go in the store and buy certain things in certain departments at different times of the day.  I had to return some things too and then I had to write a report about it.  I remember that when it was over, I bought a trenchcoat with the money I made!

With Mobee, you are given a mission inside a store and you use your cell phone to take pictures and answer questions.  You are instructed not to take photos of any employees and NOT to mention Mobee!  (Mission Impossible??  "As always, should you or any of your I.M. Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This tape/disc will self-destruct in five/ten seconds. Good luck")!

Sounded like fun to me (and I'm pretty sure they can't self-destruct my phone) so I downloaded the app.  There were a couple of "missions" at Target and Best Buy close to my house so I decided to take a stab at it and see how hard/easy it was going to be.

Not exactly a deerstalker but close enough :)

The first one I tried was at a Target Store.  I opened the mission and was instructed to find the "GoPro" display in the store.  Once there, I was asked a series of questions about the display, what was on the display, if there was a light on inside the display and then I had to take some pictures of the display.  All of this is done right in the app so it gets sent in automatically.  One of the questions was about a BLUE tag somewhere on the display.  I did not see a BLUE tag but there was a YELLOW one there so I took a picture of that, thinking perhaps Target put the wrong color tag on it.  Maybe I'd get extra points for finding a mistake!  There were about 30 questions in total and I had to take about 5 or 6 pictures, all the while watching to make sure there wasn't anybody "following" me or getting in the way of my picture taking (which was tricky since Target can get crowded and it was next to the toy aisle!)  While in that department I found a small tripod that I had been looking for to use on my table so that I can start attempting some videos.  (Maybe that's the deal the stores have with Mobee, to get you to buy stuff - because I'm pretty sure I spent more than the 150 points I was getting for doing the mission - LOL).  I answered all the questions, took the pictures and submitted the results.  It wasn't too bad and I kind of had fun sleuthing.

Feeling confident, I went to the app and saw that there was a similar mission at the Best Buy down the road so I decided to give it another go.

Again I was to find the GoPro display and take pictures and answer questions about how the display was set up.  This time there was a BLUE tag on the display and so I took a picture of that.  The whole thing went a lot faster this time since I knew what the questions were going to be and there were a lot fewer people around so I was able to complete the whole thing in under 10 minutes - and I didn't buy anything - so there!

When I got back to the car I already had an email about the first mission I had done, saying there was a problem.  Apparently it was rejected because I did not take a picture of the BLUE tag, but took a YELLOW one instead.  I sent them an email back explaining that there was no blue tag and I thought Target had made a substitution.  Since it was the weekend, they said they would take it into consideration and get back to me.  Subsequently, I got notified that they were still refusing it, so lesson learned.  Don't submit anything that is not called for!

  Of course there are not always missions around your area, but I have noticed there are generally a new batch every Sunday.  I just wish they would give you a little more information about the job before you start it.  There was one called a "Just Let It Bee" mission at a Home Depot.   The app doesn't tell you anything until you are at the location so I went there to see what it was about.  In this case I was to find a store employee and ask him about some kind of air conditioning unit or something.  I was to say I was doing some home remodeling and was interested in a particular brand and hear what they had to say about it.  I decided not to try that one because I'm a bit introverted and asking questions about air conditioning units is not in my comfort zone.  Perhaps if it had been about scrapbooking, I might have tried it!  Also, there were no extra points for talking to employees and that seemed like a harder job than just taking pictures and answering questions about store displays.  Fortunately the Home Depot was not too far away so I didn't waste too much time on it.

As of right now I have 475 points with 175 points pending for the job I did today.  You get extra points for going to places for the first time and for other achievements, like 750 points for completing 15 missions at Best Buy or 20 missions at Target.  You redeem your points for gift cards or, if you are so inclined, you can use the points to donate to different charities.

While I'm pretty sure I won't make a million dollars doing this, it is fun and gift cards to Barnes & Nobel or Amazon, etc. are nice rewards.  I also noticed there are a couple of other similar phone apps so I'm going to do some more investigating and check them out.  I'll let you know if I come across anything interesting.

How about you?  Ever been a mystery shopper?  Like detective work?  Need to make some extra cash?  If you decide you want to try Mobee yourself, use the referral code HSPW and we'll both get some extra points!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

July in Janetville - Tips for Taking Concert Photos

I am by NO means an expert in photography but after taking several thousand concert pictures over the last few years, I have come up with some of my personal ideas on the subject.  I should also say that these ideas/tips are with the intention of scrapbooking the pictures, not for trying to get them published in a magazine or anything (unless of course someone sees them and thinks they are fabulous and wants to buy them from me - LOL).

Tip #1 - GET GOOD SEATS!  It is much easier to take good photos if you have good seats.  If I can't get close seats, I try to get in a section where I can see the big screens clearly.

Tip #2 - Have a good camera.  When I first started taking pictures my camera did not have a very powerful zoom lens.  I find that makes a big difference, especially if you can't accomplish Tip #1!  Most venues will allow simple point and shoot cameras.  Mine fits in a pocket of my purse so I rarely (never so far) have had an issue with it.  It is a Canon Power Shot SX 700 with a 30 x zoom.  I would not be able to take pictures if I had to manually focus, so having an easy camera to use is important for me.  It also has a good setting for taking pictures without a flash, which is generally not allowed.

Tip #3 - Take LOTS of pictures.  The artists generally move back and forth across the stage so there are many times I can't get anything more than a blur.  If I have a lot of pictures, I can pick and choose the best ones for my pages.  Sometimes I'll have a lot of mediocre and then one or two good ones.  This spread I did with Tina Turner is a good example.  It was before I got my Canon and the zoom was terrible but by putting together some not so great pictures with some okay ones, I am pleased with the way this came out.

This is one of my favorite layouts from the Adele concert.  She didn't have a lot of costume changes, our seats were up in the second level and she does not do a lot of moving around when she sings but I think I was able to capture her here.

Same with Stevie Nicks.  When she sings "Gold Dust Woman" it's almost like she goes into a trance and even though the pictures are not that clear, I can see her getting into her song. 


Tip #4 - Take pictures of the venue itself.  Shots of the building or the marquee help to document dates and times.  Some of my favorites are:

I took the above two pictures and combined them to make the bottom one for the album.  They almost match up perfectly.

Tip #5 - Take pictures of backgrounds.  A lot of times the performers use the screens behind them to add "embellishments" to their show.  Those shots can also be "embellishments" on my pages.  They also serve as titles sometimes. 

Behind Blue Eyes - the Who


Neil Diamond

Lights on the vine wall at the Mountain Winery, Heart concert

Tip #6 - Don't forget the shadows.  At first I waited until the lights went on so I could get clear pictures of the performers but then I noticed that sometimes the shadows were the best shots.  I am SO glad I got the ones of Prince!




Backstreet Boys
Tip #7 - The crowd.  While I don't necessarily want pictures of a bunch of random strangers in my album, still there are times when the crowd is definitely part of the show.

Journey singing "Lights" and a shot of the AT&T Park crowd showing their "lights" made for a pretty magical moment.

Lights at the Adele concert.  She is the tiny figure on stage at the bottom left of the picture.

Tip #8 - Expect the unexpected.  We were watching Heart at Shoreline singing "Reign O're Me" and it started raining.  Middle of summer.  Heart didn't realize what was happening until they went backstage according to the article I read about it.  Fortunately we were under the overhang so we didn't get wet.

Rod Stewart kicks signed soccer balls from the stage!  We didn't actually get any but one went really close to us and on the BART trip home, two people near us had gotten them so they let my husband hold them while I took this picture.

Tip #9 - Stay until the end of the show.  After all, you paid your money, may as well get all you can for it.  I know it is tempting to leave to get ahead of the crowd and out of the parking lot but really, what's the rush?  Savor the moments!

We got some of the confetti from the Who show.

Mick Jones handed out some picks!

It's a good way to get a picture of the whole band when they take their final bow.

Adele's confetti had special messages written on them!
Tip #10 - Don't forget YOU!  You were at the show too!  I try to make it a point to get a shot of my husband and I and whoever we are with.  

At Huey Lewis & the News

Us at Tina Turner

My daughters and I at Backstreet Boys
Thanks to Karen Siegel Fitting of Photos Kept Alive for giving me the idea to write this blog post.  I'm always looking for new things to talk about!  

What do you think?  Good tips?  Any other suggestions or questions?  Love to hear from you!