Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tea and Books

Last Friday, we took seven of the nieces plus Jack to tea.


We had our tea at Gypsy's Tea Room in Westminster. IMHO, it is one of the nicer tea room experiences in the Baltimore area if you have a chance to go there one day.


We started this tradition last year and it has turned out to be a New Year's holiday favorite.


If you're wondering why all the kids are wearing old millinery hats, it's because I had taken them last year for fun and now they really look forward to them.


They would all like to wear the tophat but it's the only "boy" hat I have.


I need to keep my eye open for a bowler that's not too expensive...


Even the lady serving us got in on the action...


Remember I mentioned I was taking an online photography class from Karen Russell? Well, I haven't had too much time to "study" with the busy-ness of the holidays so, needless to say, I'm a few weeks behind. That's the story of my life, in a nutshell...three weeks behind.


My father had given me this new lens for my camera for Christmas. This lens is supposed to be ideal for shooting in low light situations which often happens in our everyday life.


I was trying the lens for the first time PLUS I was using the manual settings on my camera for the first time. That means, I turned off all those auto functions and tried really hard to understand the relationship of all of the focus, aperture, ISO and shutter speed settings. I set my camera to be more sensitive to light. I tried to change the aperture as the situation dictated but it was definitely hit or miss. I had lots of overexposed, fuzzy and/or grainy pics.


Phew! It's a challenge but it's very exciting at the same time. There's a whole new world of creativity out there in photography that I'm just beginning to see. It's like I'm peeking over the fence in my backyard and I'm seeing amazing worlds to discover. But right now, I'm having trouble getting myself over that fence.


These pics are my first attempt. Of course, I'm showing you the best and not necessarily the 100 shots that have gotten deleted.


Last night we had a great book exchange. Sorry for no pics but I was the hostess and I sometimes forget. Here are some of the books that were exchanged, each with a note as to why the giver chose that book...

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Goodwin
; Loving Frank by Nancy Horan; Shelter Me by Juliette Fay; Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freeman; Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen; The Shack by William P. Young; and The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney.

Perhaps you have read a few?

14 comments:

Mary Timme said...

I love going to high teas. There is just something so wonderful about seeing kids in neat-o hats that is charming. Nice to see!

Carol said...

Well, your pictures always make your blog interesting. They are always great.

Love the kids in their hats. I am quite a hat person myself and wear one most of the time, those most of mine are fedora or western style or anything in leopard print of course! (but no real fur for me, uh uh no).

Debra said...

Just adorable but that blue hat with the curly ends is my favorite!! Jack is such a good sport to go to all these functions with a gaggle of girls.

Allison Ann Aller said...

Great shots of your nieces and son!

Benedict Freeman was my professor of the 10 credit Freshman core class at Occidental College, back in 1972. He was a truly remarkable and fabulous teacher. It's so cool to see the book he wrote with his wife on this list....

Lynn said...

Love the tea time! Loving Frank is a great book. We have quite a few Frank Lloyd Wright buildings here in Buffalo, so I just gobbled that book right up. Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen is a great book too...I'm reading it for a second time!

black bear cabin said...

your pictures are wonderful! you really captured the afternoon :)
Looks like the kids had a great time too...and what a fun tradition!

Judy S. said...

Fun photos, Susan, of what looked like a really fun time. Hope you get my email with the upclose view of the black mitts and not SPAM. Thanks for the booklist....what an interesting bunch of titles!

TattingChic said...

Oh, how very fun!!! :)

Barbara C said...

What fun! Your photos (and your models) are gorgeous.

Robin said...

Your series of "7 Nieces and a Son" photographs are contest winners... really! Of course the hats help... can't go wrong with seriously cute kids wearing vintage millinery! The picture of Jack in the top hat is awesome. OMG... you'll ace your class with these. So, my husband, who's been a semi-professional photographer for 30 years, says the trick to manual photography is solved by digital camers. The trick is: take LOTS of pictures!

Thanks for your comments on my most recent post... You made my day!

Robin A.

Susan said...

Those are all good books! I actually went to a presentation by Doris Goodwin at a conference. My book club at work read Loving Frank and we just finished Three Cups of Tea. Enjoy and I'll look forward to any reviews!

Camilla La Mer-Art Dolls said...

Your photos are wonderful! I love the group shot towards the end. You are so brave to turn off your auto settings...Just the mention of it sends shivers down my spine...Those nieces are going to cherish the memories with you always! What a tremendous gift for all of you...

Wanda said...

You are creating memories for all the kids! Wonderful pictures and such fun!!! I don't get to see my nephews and niece very often. And, then, all of a sudden, they were all grown up. Well, they want to be anyway!

One Crabapple said...

ohhh but She Speaks To My Heart !

What a fun tea place - wish I had been there.

Your photos are WONDERFUL and perfect.

I have only read Three Cups of Tea but am scribbling down the rest on the list.

Thank You for such Fun.

xo- S.

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