Thursday, January 30, 2014

Take me to the movies....


Trevor and I don't go to the movies very often. I don't know why, it isn't for lack of loving movies. I am lucky in the respect that we share taste in movies, there is no crabbing when deciding what to watch because that is a chick flick and I like action flicks just as much as the next guy unless there is torture involved then I am under a pillow or in another room or suddenly have an affliction to visit the bathroom. We both share the same stupid meter when it comes to movies, where stupid is between hilarious and downright ridiculous why did they make this into a movie, I don't get poo humour kinda flick.

In my opinion no movie night is complete without the traditional popcorn. I don't generally get the ginormous bags they give you at the movies but doesn't mean I don't want to stick my head in the bag and devour it all. Since we don't go to the movies a lot that left making popcorn at home, which left me with 2 issues. The microwave popcorn first is awful for you and the one that isn't supposed to be awful takes like paper. Second, microwave popcorn gives me NIGHTMARES. I mean sawing people's heads off being burned alive nightmares. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. 

In the interest of self-preservation, I stopped making popcorn at home.

Insert Sad Face here!

My mom also shares a love of popcorn and found this machine by Cuisinart at Canadian Tire on sale and brought it home to try last summer and loved it. She raved about it to us, made us some popcorn, showed me how easy it was and I was hooked. I did however kind of forgot about it, until it appeared under my Christmas tree from Santa.


Oh my friends, this little machine is fantastic and has brought my love of popcorn to an all time high. You only need 1 tsp of an oil (canola etc.) and the machine makes you a pile of popcorn your size in under 10 min. The health benefits of popcorn without the added pile of crap on it are great. High high in fibre and so much better than chips in the fat department seeing as popcorn iteself hardly has any fat at all.
We generally melt 2 tbsp becel margarine for the whole bowl and sometimes add a smidge (or a dollop) of franks red hot or a little brown sugar for a kettle style corn.

 

Of course I put my popcorn in ironstone. Who doesn't I say?
For all the good points of this machine, the only complaint is the top clear bowl is supposed to just flip over with a lid on the bottom and become the bowl but the lid only stayed on the first time and now falls off so into the ironstone the popcorn goes.

I used to have one of those air popper machines, but the popcorn always tasted a bit rubbery? not sure if that is the right word but it didn't have that fluffy crunch like the movies. This machine gives you the movies in pajamas, although the last time I was actually at the movies, the pajama part did not seem to be a concern for some. Just sayin'.

 

The clear bowl and middle popping plate are even dishwasher friendly.

Lover of popcorns unite with the Easypop revolution!

Insert happy face here!

BTW: this wasn't a sponsored post, Cuisinart has no idea who I am. I love popcorn a lot and thought there may be another lover suffering from having their head chopped off at night from microwave popcorn who could use a healthy way to pop to success.

Have a great day all,

Some awesome pillows and things being added to the shop tonight. I cut up the maority of the pillows for the shop and show over the last 3 nights. There is something like 80+ covers to sew, I better get to work.


Meg



JOINING
a stroll thru life 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Warm Banana Bread


Good morning everyone!

It would seem that everyone is very upset about the weather. The cold is the main topic of conversation no matter where you go right now. So in the interest of warming our bellies and thoughts, and raising the spirits of our winter hearts, how about a delicious easy recipe for you today.




Banana Oatmeal Bread with Blueberries

1 c white whole wheat flour
½ c rolled oats
¼ c granulated sugar
¼ c light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)
¾ c buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted (or 2 tbsp coconut oil)
½ c ripe bananas, mashed (I used 2 bananas)
1/2 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and lightly flour a loaf pan

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, oats, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and flaxseed).

In a separate bowl, mix together buttermilk, eggs butter, and bananas. Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients. Stir to combine. Add blueberries last and only stir gently or your entire bread batter will be blue.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 min until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and top is golden brown. 


Enjoy!

Have a great day,


Meg


recipe adapted from surly kitchen 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Refuge: Antiques and Giftery


How about some monitor shopping this morning?

A few months (yep months) ago I was driving around in Niagara on the Lake doing some errands and saw a new signage in the Garrison Village. Refuge Antiques and Giftery.
Antiques and Giftery? that sounds right up my alley. I had a few minutes to burn so I stopped in and walked around awestruck for about 30 minutes.
I did not have my camera that day but the lovely owner Liz Hawley was excited about the idea of me coming back for some photos and I finally made some time last week.

They were in the middle of taking down their Christmas finery but the store was still lovely and if you are local to the area it is a definite must see. Plenty of interesting vintage pieces and some fantastic giftware lines including the coveted kitchen papers, archipelago candles and much more.






what an interesting display idea with the crates of ornaments

 









i love their checkout desk made of crates and steel cabinets. rustic and vintage.

I hope you enjoyed a little tour of Refuge Antiques and Giftery

Have a great day,


Meg

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Winter Upstairs Decor


We are rounding up the winter decor in our home with the upstairs hallway and bathroom.
Again I went a little simpler but I was also having withdrawal symptoms from taking down all the twinkling lights so, I added the winter trees from Restoration Hardware in the flocked style and they glow every night on their timer to greet us when we come home.




 i am really enjoying the frosty ferns for this season. gives a sense of greenery life without pushing the envelope of making spring seem so far away.


another of the white threshold white deer from target. simple white winter decor.



 



Have a lovely day,


Monday, January 20, 2014

My Camera and Editing Equipment


Welcome to all of my new followers as of late from all the lovely house tours out there.
I am so happy you are here.

I have been inundated with questions about my camera and what editing software I am using especially since Saturday's post about the doozy photo from our laundry room.

I bumped out the winter decor of our upstairs to tomorrow to write this post and answer all of your questions.

Camera first!

I was previously, up until last September using a Nikon P90 point and shoot camera on a tripod which worked fine for the time being. It was light , I learned to use the manual function inside and out but it became obvious that my photos were as good as they were going to get with that level of camera.

Time to upgrade. When I started to hunt for a new camera I noticed that almost all big bloggers were using entry or professional DSLR cameras exclusively so, I thought that was the route I was going to have to go. I was starting to save my pennies because camera bodies alone are very expensive and because I like to carry my camera around my neck I was looking at a smaller Nikon J1 too so I didn't have to lug around the big beast at shows etc. It was going to be huge financial investment.
My uncle who is my go-to resource for camera info sent me an article about compact mirrorless system cameras and the rest they say is history.

I settled on the Sony NEX-5R which I believe is now the 5T. 
The camera is as small as my previous point and shoot, is easy to use, has many many interchangeable lens (I am starting to have a lens addiction) and takes high quality photos.
This camera comes in around 600/700.00 depending on sales which is still a good investment but when compared to the aforementioned expensive 3000.00 DSLR's you are still ahead of the game. There are higher models of the NEX line and they have just released a new 7 model.
The only thing my camera is missing is a viewfinder but the large moveable LCD screen makes up for it.



Now oddly enough, for this post I am using my Iphone for photos so I can show you the camera. Sony NEX cameras use what are called E-mount lens. The above lens is the kit lens that came with the camera. It is an 18-55mm lens with f3.5-5.6. I have read many a review for DSLR users that their kit lens is terrible right off the bat and you need to invest in a new lens pronto. The kit lens that comes with the Sony NEX-5R is actually a very good lens. It produces clear photos, with little distortion and is consistent in quality. More bang for your buck if your budget is really limited.


The screen of the camera is touchscreen but the wheels and buttons give you the option of doing everything manually which I prefer as it is quicker and I am old school. I don't need everything touchscreen, I like buttons


Most of my blog photos are shot with the kit lens or the Sigma 19mm f2.8 lens that I invested in right off the bat. It is a great wider angle lens for the money. I am in Canada and use Henry's Camera shop for just about all of my purchases. I purchased the telephoto lens for travel 55-210mm f4.5-6.3 but rarely use this lens for blogging purposes.

I am saving my pennies from my etsy shop (go buy lol) to purchase the Sony SEL10-18mm lens that will be able to produce super wide angle photos but at 899.00 it will be my most expensive purchase for this camera. I know DSLR people are shaking their head as 899.00 is nothing when compared with the big Canon and Nikon lens.

How do I use my camera:

Well now that I have told you about my equipment, lets talk a little about how I use it. 
I am always always always on a tripod. As a blogger you need the crispest, clearest photos you can produce. It is what home decor bloggers and readers are looking for. It is your gateway to social media. Taking photos by hand produces a camera shake that may not be visible on your little camera screen but blow it up on a computer and it becomes very evident.
I only shoot in manual. I know you read this everywhere but if you buy a DSLR or even your point and shoot camera and shoot on auto you are not getting your moneys worth and if you do not understand the basics of photography, how do you expect your camera to produce A+ photos. You need to understand what aperature and shutter speed mean to be able to judge situations and take the appropriate photo. It may not be your camera's fault but yours. Sorry to sound lecture-y but I learned this lesson and now it is your turn.
I also use the 2 second timer for every photo. This ensures my hand is off the camera and everything is still. I don't even have music playing when I am taking photos as our subwoofer can cause even the slightest tremor.
I change the white balance with every shoot according to conditions, daylight, cloudy, incandesent light in our basement. I sometimes use the auto white balance if there if a multitude of lights going on in the room especially at Christmas when there is daylight, mini-lights and candlelight you are trying to capture.
I am almost always at ISO 100 which is the light sensitivity of the camera but also where the noise (graininess ) of pictures comes from. The higher the ISO, the more noise in your photo. I also try to shoot at the lowest focal point for many photos for light purposes ie. f2.8

Editing

Up until 2 weeks ago I was using Picasa ( a free web program that can be downloaded for editing) and PicMonkey exclusively. Picasa is a great program for beginners and is fast and easy to use. It has many great developing features that can enhance many people's shots and I would still recommend it for beginners
My husband at my request bought me Photoshop Elements last year for Christmas and after a year of trying to understand the program, getting frustrated with the importing options and really only using it for overlaying my watermark. I called it. I gave up!

I downloaded a trial version of Lightroom(lightroom was second on my list last Christmas and should have been first, learn from my mistake) from the Adobe website and purchased through Shoot Fly Shoot (link in my sidebar, and I would love if you would use it if you are planning to purchase a class) a tutorial class about using Lightroom.

The class is about 3 hours long (you can do at your own pace and watch over and over if you need) and I was hooked. The class goes over every aspect of using Lightroom, is easy to understand and the instructor really dumbs everything down so you can understand what he is doing if you don't have a lot of experience (I am no graphic designer). Lightroom has all the properties I liked about Picasa with importing and organizing and the quality of my photos has quadrupled. I have used Lightroom since the Patina Style post. It allows me to add my custom watermark on export without a million other steps. I am in love and will always have it on my computer.

The next step that I haven't conquered is editing my photos on my iMac. I was generously gifted with a business computer from Santa this Christmas and have been slowly working on syncing my laptop (a PC) with the Mac desktop. It has been a challenge so far but will be worth it. I want to edit my photos on the Mac as the difference you see in quality on Apple products is insane. You think the photo looks amazing on your PC and switch to the Mac and see all the details you missed. My only issue is I write all my blog posts late at night in my lap while catching up with some tv shows, so i need to be able to get the edited photos off my Mac and onto my laptop. Oh the problems we have to complain about seem so minimal in comparison to some.


Well I hope that answers some questions, and if you have any more feel free to ask them in the comments section and I will try my best to answer


Have a good day,


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Feeling the Love......


What a lovely week it has been here at Oliver and Rust.

I just wanted to send out a few thank you's this morning to people that have been good to us.
Our post on Patina Style in the Spare bedroom has received a lot of attention and was featured on Common Ground and French Country Cottage this week.




Diane, from The Olde Barn blog did a wonderful blogger home tour that pulled photos from all the years of our blog/home. She even found this doozy that I can't believe was how I took pictures only a few short years ago. Check out the tour here


I suppose it goes to show, anyone can learn to do things like photography with a little determination.


Lastly, Kelly from Eclectically Vintage asked me to join her Saturday series of Eclectic Home Tours and  I am among some amazing company in this series, check it out here.


Cozy sofa and home tour

oh, seeing my summer pillows have me longing for warmer days. it is still so far away, can't hurt to dream right?


Have a lovely Saturday my friends,


Meg
 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Etsy Updates


Short and sweet this morning.

New goodies in store.

www.oliverandrust.etsy.com


Have a great weekend all,



Meg

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Statement Chairs and One Kings Lane


Awhile back I was asked along with a group of bloggers as a part of One King's Lane to show a chair in my home that "is me", is a statement in my home and showcases my style.
 

I am a chair lover, maybe it is a genetic code thing as my mom is chair obsessed. She brings chairs home like I bring home dressers and ironstone. We are like the adoption agency for unloved furniture in our area. I have been known to stalk Kijiji looking for that perfect vintage piece to add to my home.

 If you love chairs or any furniture like me, then you will love the new Home Decor Resource Guide at One King's Lane.  Their wealth of information allows you to peruse the history of furniture & chairs and find the style of the chair you scooped up off the curb, or at that local thrift store.

I had a really hard time picking the one chair in our home that best describes our style but went with the green velvet and wood vintage chair on our main floor. The mate is found in our basement. I picked these chairs up from a Kijiji ad and the colour suits our home perfectly. They are comfortable and soft to sit in.


 



Our statement chair relates to our room as depending on the season, a different shade of green is in use as a delightful accent and the vintage nature of the chair ties in with the found treasures that make up our eclectic style.

 





Check out One King's Lane Home Decor Resource or take a tour through their online sales and scoop yourself up some wonderful inspiration 


Have a nice night everyone,


Meg

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Winter Decor Main Floor


All the sneak peeks with the latest projects including the chalkboard wall and the whitewashed mantel, how about seeing the rest of the main floor?

I went a bit in the neutral whites, black and a bit of green. Not the crazy green of springtime but, who couldn't use that right now with the insane ups and downs of the weather lately.

We are enjoying the relative simplicity of our decor right now for the winter season.


i am really enjoying the whiter mantel and chalkboard in real life but also in my photos. it adds so much interest to the room.

 






another squirrel scurrying out of the photo. this one is from target's threshold collection

 












 


 Have a fantastic Tuesday,