Apple Blossoms

Wow, they seem to have exploded overnight!

What a difference a day makes.


Garden in May

The mice seem to have left.  We checked the bait and it hasn’t been eaten.  The mice must have gotten smart and moved on to the next place…hopefully not in our garage.

Here are some photos of my garden in May.  Hopefully the apple tree gets pollinated…I saw a few bees, but I don’t think there are any other apple trees around in bloom right now.  No wonder we only got 1 apple from that tree last year! I’ll have to get another tree for next year to cross-pollinate.

Here is the tree by the water fountain.  (Yup, it’s a tiny tree)


Some of the blossoms up close.



What’s in bloom now: Gerbera Daisy…but it was like this when I bought it at the store.

Grr….those hungry mice!!

Today I noticed all the tulip, crocus, and hyacinth bulbs I planted in our front yard were getting eaten (I planted over 100 of them!) So I decided not to be so nice to these little mice anymore.

Matt picked the kind of trap where the mice walk into this plastic container and eat some poisoned food.   We bought them from Walmart, and they look just like an ant trap.  I’ll let you know how it works! I just hope I don’t find any dead mice anywhere. 


Backyard Gardening

I’m excited to be home this spring/summer!  The last few years we have been travelling in spring so I didn’t have much time to spend planting stuff in the backyard.  Wow, I sound like I’m retired already…I’m not, I swear I do work! (sometimes) 

Last year, my garden didn’t turn out so well because I planted WAY too many seeds for the small space that I have.  We did get hundreds of tiny carrots smaller than your pinky finger though! I also learned I am not planting broccoli again.  They were giant juicy green caterpillar magnets.  Eww..I get squeamish just thinking about it!      

This week, Matt helped me build a tiny greenhouse for the backyard.  While we were at it, we saw a brown mouse!  It must have been living in our backyard over the winter because there were trails of dead grass all over our lawn.  The mouse ran into a hole under one of the stone walls and then I filled it up with pebbles.  Matt was like, “that’s not going to do anything, now you gave it more stuff to build with.”  Haha…I can picture the mouse thinking, “This pebble will make a great chair…Ooh! This one would be great for a table!”

I checked today and the pebbles haven’t been moved.  The mouse must have found another way out.  I don’t want to kill the little guy, but I don’t want him running around in my garden eating all my plants either!!  

Manual Mode is actually not so scary!


I’ve moved from using aperture or shutter priority mode to manual mode on my camera!  I always stayed away from manual mode because I was afraid I didn’t know what I was doing.  That I would really mess the picture up since you had to control BOTH the aperture and shutter speed.  Since it is spring break and I’m off for the week, I didn’t have anything else to do today, so I played with my cameras. Changing settings, trying all the different functions, testing out different variations in manual mode to see what happens.  I can’t believe I waited 3 years before I tried it!  Once you find the right aperture and shutter speed for the light where you are, you’re set.  And the color and exposure is always very nice and exactly as you want it.  If you’ve never experimented with manual mode on your camera, give it a try!  Don’t wait 3 years like me.



Soon, none our last names will be Hua anymore since all my sisters are either married or engaged (and we have no brothers)!  I was just surfing around the net and found that HUA is a military term for “Heard, understood, and acknowledged”.   In Chinese, the meaning is spectacular or flower, although our last name isn’t the same character as this one. So, it’s good we are making this the name of our business, keep the name “alive” somehow 🙂

Moving the studio

We originally set up the studio in our bonus room (the room above the garage).  All the stuff was so huge it basically took over the entire room and looked really odd since the room is open to the rest of the house.  I decided to move it down to our unfinished basement, so after an afternoon of cleaning up all the junk down there (mostly empty boxes and packaging), I finally had room to set it up.  Then I realized we didn’t have any power outlets to plug the flashes into!!  I got an extension cord and found a plug by the power box where all the electrical stuff for the house is…I hope it’s ok to use that one!  The light is much trickier to control down there since there is no natural light at all.  When I was testing some shots, they all turned out really blue and cool no matter what white balance I had it on.  I ended putting my camera on auto white balance and it was still a little cool, but not as blue as the other settings.  I think I need to practice on a real person, so I can practice arranging the lights at normal height, not for a 7″ tall pup! Any volunteers?!? 🙂  Well, here are some test shots done in the basement, with my always obliging model who just had her hair done.  But I think I missed a spot, there is an extra long piece of fur sticking out of her hoodie!


Here are some more that I did today:





Bye bye! 


test shots

Matt had the day off yesterday so we went out to do some errands and decided to check out this studio lighting place that Matt found.  We ended up getting a black backdrop & 2 flashes.   Here are the first test shots with the new setup.  I only had 2 subjects to test on…


my princess of a puppy 


my handsome (and handy) husband

Cute Overload?

Not getting enough cute Emma pictures on this blog?Well, check out cute overload for ridiculously adorable pics and vids of all sorts of animals.I have spent hours and hours browsing through the archives.  Here is a pic from the page, a cute baby bear doing a karate chop:bear_fight1.jpg