Friday, July 26, 2013

Product Review: Portable Photography Backdrop Kit

I was recently asked if I would do a product review for The LA Shop. The LA Shop is an online market where one can purchase just about anything, from home d├ęcor items, to automobile supplies to toys and sportswear and everything in between. Seriously!

I chose the 8x10 ft Portable Photography Background Backdrop Stand Kit to review. I have been in the market for just such a stand. I wanted something light in weight, because inevitably hauling a big screen on location only makes for back problems and belly aches. I wanted something easy to assemble. And I wanted something that I wasn't tied down to in background choices. I wanted to be able to chose my own backdrops, and to be able to change out easily. It was a tall order to fill. Which is why I haven't invested in a screen, because I required one with all of those attributes. I was very skeptical of the screen from LA Shop, if it would be adequate.

I received the screen via mail a few days later. It came in a fairly large box. Inside was a carrying case (comes free with the kit) with all of the parts nicely packed inside.

The case was very lightweight, even with all the parts inside. I really liked that the case has built-in small pocket for instruments. Everything fits securely inside and doesn't shift around. It was very portable and convenient to anywhere. Check that off of my wish list. And that was a biggie!

Assembly. The screen itself only has 6 parts, which are the two stand supports and 4 bars which is the frame for a screen. Unfortunate for me, there were no instructions in the kit.

Sure, only 6 parts....but for someone like me, I need-no require- instructions. Fortunately, my husband was skilled enough to put it together in about 2 minutes. So easy.

Especially when someone else does it for you. :)
And that estimate was generous. It was probably much quicker than 2 minutes. After watching him do it, it seemed easy enough. The set up with smoothly, as was breakdown later (which I did myself, thank you very much).
The kit does not provide a backdrop, but I liked that. No cheesy Olan Mills backdrops. I wanted to be able to change out materials and textures. I have some burlap,  some black polyester and some white light blankets with much texture that I like to rotate in and out. For lighter weight fabrics, it will require a clamp to keep it in place. Today I chose a white blanket with some texture, it lay perfectly over the frame. The longer the fabric, the more space to "play", meaning your subject could actually stand on the backdrop if you would like. Speaking of a subject....

After some coercing (NOT) I found myself a model that works on the cheap
("Will Model for Food and Rent").

Sister Sledge has that posing bit down.
I really like this product! I am glad I was able to try the backdrop kit. It certainly fit my needs and  It will come in handy for senior portraits as well as events. It'll also come in handy in blogging for staging pictures. I can think of numerous situations in which I will use it. The only negative isn't really even a negative but more of a comment...I would've appreciated some clamps in the gear bag for securing backdrops and some instructions for people like me. Other than that, its worth its retail price, which is $69.99. And its a gem for any photographer on the go.
Thank you to The LA Shop for allowing me to try out your product!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day

My husband and I took our 2 youngest children to the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo.
We wanted them to be conscientious of the real meaning for Memorial Day.
It's a real eye opener...

We walked in silence and in observance of the sacrifices that these proud men and women,
our nations silent hero's, gave for our freedoms.

And as I walked I reflected upon these quotes...

The patriot's blood is the seed of Freedom's tree.  ~Thomas Campbell

They fell, but o'er their glorious grave
Floats free the banner of the cause they died to save.
~Francis Marion Crawford

The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:
Their courage nerves a thousand living men.
~Minot J. Savage

It's important that we might never forget.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Dream Dog Park of Veteran's Park

This weekend my family checked out the new Beneful® Dream Dog Park in Alabaster, just ten minutes from our house. The Veterans Dream Dog Park, a $500,000 installation, was actually a "Prize" won by Alabaster resident Jenny Wilson,  in a contest sponsored by the Beneful dog food company. Jason Cameron from the DIY Network, was the visionary who designed the $500,000 park.

We took most of our pack to the park: Miley, Jeffery, Lucy and Charlotte all were treated to a day of fun (Jane couldn't go, she gets car sick and does not like other dogs so was happy for the alone time).

(Miley, pictured)

With the exception of Lucy and Charlotte, who were a little freaked out at all of the dogs (there were ALOT of dogs), our puppy's had a great time exploring and making new friends:

This little Chinese Crested, a hairless breed was just adorable in it's pink bow, and even more so when its male owner carried it across the area to play. Daddy's do love their babies!

The one-acre park is fenced off from the rest of Veterans Park. Within the dog park, boundaries separate the off-leash areas for small dogs and large dogs. Each area features a splash-pad for playing in the water or cooling off. A "senior sanctuary" allows older pets the opportunity to sit and enjoy the outdoors, and covered seating features picnic-style tables and benches.

A mural of a beach is "for the humans", one human parkgoer stated.  But the rest of the park is certainly , "For the dogs" !!! Nothing in the park is harmful to the dogs. The walking track is made of recycled rubber and the grass is a synthetic product. It's all  about safety.

Jack and this little puppy enjoyed watching the action of the big dogs on the other side of the fence:

After a bit of play, a cool shower feels good....

Miley found a look alike dog, it could easily be mistaken for one of our pack...

This guy (below) was a parent to many pups, like us. But he was also an excellent trainer.

We watched him for what seemed forever in training his pitbull. I can certainly say, one of the most well behaved, most disciplined dogs I have ever seen. The dog listened and obeyed every word its owner said.

From, "Jump through that hoop" then just before dog was to jump he would say "Wait" and the dog would stop on a dime..

... to playing fetch and throw the ball and the dog would wait for the command to retrieve.

Amazing! and owner alike enjoyed the park. Its truly an amazing place and we are so fortunate to have one so close to home.

Speaking of home, we stayed until the sun was setting across the field and then called it a day.

....until next weekend...when we can go and play again.


For more information on Veteran's Park:
VETERANS PARK 7305 Hwy. 119 (located 1 block south of Chevron Station)


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Vintage Hip

My friend Zinnia purposed a girls trip to Springville today. Courtney, Kim and I piled into the car for a short trek to the little charming town. Our destination was a new store, (opened last Mothers Day weekend) called Vintage Hip.

The store is loaded with vintage creations....

Handmade crosses by local artist:

Wooden Frames of every size made from barn wood:

I ADORE and WANT this custom made frame for the TV:

There are lots of little goodies all around!
Custom artwork , burlap and fabric covered light fixtures....

Zinnia loved this burlap shade..

So did I. But my favorite was the galvanized buckets:

Jewels and babbles hung from old chippy painted doors:

Poetic cuffs displayed on amber jars..

I really wanted every cuff there....and guess what! They are interchangeable!

These were my favorite....

Great chairs with some burlap love, chalkboard frames....

Drapes hung on tree branches. The entire place was so inspiring.

 But really, there was nothing in there I didn't like!
My most favorite was the custom furniture pieces, like this kitchen farm table

You can custom order furniture pieces for the specific size and color you want.
 These shelving pieces were so interesting...

Vintage Hip certainly IS a Hip little Vintage shop! 

Vintage Hip has so many wonderful, charming, unique things to offer to lovers of art, vintage, upcycling, and handmade jewelry. Vintage Hip has handmade clay jewelry by Rebekah Blocher Designs from Alabama:

 I purchased the lightest green one on the top right in the state of Alabama.
"My home's in matter where I lay my head. My home's in Alabama, southern born and southern bred."

                              Sometimes I can't help but break out in song....but I digress....

A store this cool, one can't help but break into song. And did I mention, just about everything in the store is for sale...including the incredible vingettes and store displays?

The shop is owned by mother-daughter team Becky Coffelt and her daughter Hannah Cornelious, with some grand help from Becky's husband in furniture design. Becky is just delightful and helpful and willing to share and swap vintage decorating ideas.  And she is also downright adorable....

So if you are in Springville, or are looking for a funky little shop to get lost in, Vintage Hip is your place!

(click any photo for a larger view)

Vintage Hip: