Category Archives: Technical Stuff

Don't panic! It's only temporary, I promise.

Hey, kids! I’m taking October off for a little “me” time. I’ll be spending some quality time with The Complete Package and recharging my batteries. I hope you’ll join me back here on November 1st, when I plan to dazzle you with my well-rested, recharged intellect. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch. But I will be back; more enthusiastic to talk your ear off than ever. If it helps, I’m more than willing to bribe you with the promise of a sweet giveaway when I return.

See you back here in a few weeks!
-NanaBread (Jeanne)


Filed under Technical Stuff

TCP’s New Itty Bitty Pocket Camera

Canon ELPH 300 HS - the Mighty Mouse of pocket digital cameras (not actual size)

In the market for a new pocket-sized digital camera? Thinking of purchasing one as a holiday gift? Here’s one to consider. It’s the Canon Power Shot ELPH 300HS, and it’s remarkable. Don’t let the size fool you. This little camera is a beast. It has some of the same features as my full-size DSLR, takes fabulous photos and 1080p HD video, and is smaller than the palm of your hand. The Complete Package got a new one last weekend, and it’s a keeper. That photo above? It’s larger than the actual camera. The real thing is 3.63″ wide by 2.2″ tall and only 0.77″ thick. With the battery and SD card installed, it weighs just under 5 ounces. When I say it’s small and lightweight, I’m not kidding.

Here are some of the features:
12.1 megapixels with high-sensitivity CMOS
24mm wide-angle lens with 5x optical zoom
2.7″ LCD color display
optical image stabilization
high-speed burst function
super slow-motion video function
HS system, Digic 4, Exif Print, SmartAuto and PictBridge

Do I know what all that means? Nope. Does it matter? Not at all. Here’s what I do know. You could put this thing on full auto, take fabulous photos forever and be one happy camper. But if you prefer a more hands-on approach, you can take advantage of the 32 photo functions including aperture and shutter speed priorities, high-speed and slow-motion video with stereo sound, and much more. It also has face recognition, blink recognition, low light sensitivity (without needing the flash) AND it has built-in artistic effects like monochrome, scene modes and a Toy Camera effect. Bottom line – this is an ultra-thin pocket-sized powerhouse. It’s easy to carry, easy to use, and easy to love. Suggested retail price is $249, but you can find it in most electronic stores for $229 and may find it on sale for even less. I think you’ll find you get a lot of bang for your buck.

The Canon ELPH 300 HS may be small, but it's a pocket-sized powerhouse

To learn more, click on the link at the top of the post (ELPH 300 page at, or go to to compare colors, features and vendors. Remember – it’s never too early to tell Santa you’ve been good this year. Speaking of: What’s on your wishlist this year? I’m thinking Keurig.


Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts, Technical Stuff

DIY Light Box for Photography

That TCP… I’m telling you. We don’t call him The Complete Package for nothing. This weekend, he built me a light box so my food photographs would look better. I had mentioned to him that photos taken in our kitchen tend to have a yellow tint. This happens for two reasons:

1. We have yellow-tinted glass shades on our kitchen pendants, and
2. We have only one kitchen window, for a few hours worth of morning sun.

So TCP took it upon himself to research photography light boxes on the internet. Those available for purchase were in the $200 range. But since TCP has a love of PVC pipe and tools that come in plastic carrying cases, he found a DIY version on the web and took it upon himself to build one.

Here’s what he used:
3/4″ diameter PVC pipe in 24″ lengths (10 pieces)
end caps, elbows and connector joints for PVC
clamps for holding backdrop fabrics in place
clip-on lamps with ‘daylight’ compact fluorescents
a power strip for the lamps

In addition, I bought:
4 yards of muslin for the light box cover
various fabrics to use as backdrops

The light box comes apart so you can break it down and store it in a tote bag. For that reason, I made a slip cover with rod pockets for the front two posts, and ribbon ties to hold it into place on the other two corners. I haven’t stitched together the top panel yet, but I was able to drape some fabric over the top so I could snap these photos. Sorry. I just couldn’t wait to show it to you. But first, I’d like to thank Gumby for his part in this show and tell segment.

Excuse my drooping top panel; I didn't clamp it down taut.

Wow. I really should have folded the leftover fabric in the back right corner.

Ladies & Gentlemen... the star of our show, Gumby!

As you can tell, I haven’t hemmed the edges of this background fabric to fit the width of the box yet. I didn’t iron it yet, either. Sorry. I’ll get there. Eventually. When choosing backdrops, I went for textures and colors – basically the types of things I enjoy seeing in other food blogger’s photos.

Okay, Mr. DeMille.... Gumby is ready for his close-up.

Notice the absence of obvious shadows or glare? Nice, huh? For this photo, I used one lamp on each side of the photo box and the overhead light that was behind me. For future photos, I have an additional third lamp that can be mounted to illuminate the back or the top of the box, depending on the situation and how much light is needed. Cool, right? And, as I said, it all breaks down into a medium-size tote bag so I can store it when it’s not in use. Booyah!

Cost of the box itself (including the frame, lights, clamps & power strip) was $60. The muslin to enclose the box was $15. The ribbons to tie the corners in place came from a pile I already had in my sewing room. If you want to make one even cheaper, I’ve seen tutorials for light boxes made from cardboard boxes. But not mine. It was made with love by The Complete Package, and homeboy doesn’t slack when it comes to DIY projects. Which is why we call him The Complete Package in the first place. The end. Cue the closing credits & kill the lights!


Filed under Craft Projects, Technical Stuff

We Have a Birthday Box Winner!

Congratulations to Susan K. from the great state of Florida! She is the winner of the blog birthday celebration box. Susan, your gift box should arrive late next week. I hope you enjoy this collection of some of my favorite things. Thank you to all who participated in the giveaway, and to all who continue to return to my little blog week after week. I love you more than chocolate! -NanaBread

Birthday Box gifts; Salt Lick BBQ Spice Rub included but not pictured.


Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts, Technical Stuff

Book Recommendation: Plate to Pixel

Plate to Pixel by Helen Dujardin, Wiley Publishing

If you read The Pioneer Woman’s website, you’ll know that she recently posted another “visit to the ranch” giveaway weekend. This one features a late July weekend of macaron baking and food photography tutorials. Did I enter the contest? You betcha. Why? Because I just bought the food photography book published by her special guest, Helene Dujardin. If you’re a food blog junkie, you’ll know her work from her lovely Tartlette blog. I love Helene’s blog for her gorgeous food photography. Yes, her recipes are also stellar. She is a trained pastry chef, after all. But her luscious photographs are like no other. They’re food art. And since I have a new Canon EOS Rebel T2i (my first “big girl” camera) and absolutely no photography experience, I was thrilled to discover that Helene had published a digital food photography and styling guide. I immediately went to Amazon and ordered it, and couldn’t wait to dig in.

What I love most about Helene’s book is that it’s laid out in a start-to-finish manner, beginning with food photography basics and ending with an “after the capture” chapter on photo transfer, editing, storage and copyright tips.

In between, she shares tips for lighting, food staging/styling and composition. Helene shares her knowledge in a straight forward, easy to understand manner. And while I may never have a career as a professional food photographer, I am certain her guide will help me become a better overall photographer.

On that note, I would like to share some news. I was recently contacted by a graphic design company about the use of a photograph that appeared in my blog. It was a photo I took for my carnitas recipe. After exchanging a few e-mails, I agreed to allow them to use the photograph for a marketing campaign if the client chose to include my photo. Well, weeks later, the client did indeed select my photo for inclusion in their campaign, and I received a small check for the limited royalty-free use of my photo. That’s right. In the loosest possible use of the term, I am officially a professional photographer. It may be the world’s shortest lived career, but I was excited none the less. For now, I’m framing the final letter, the check and the photo for posterity’s sake. Even if this turns out to be a one hit wonder, I can at least look at it, smile and remember when.

Note: I’d like to thank Michelle at Brown Eyed Baker blog for introducing me to Plate to Pixel through a recent post. Proof positive, in my opinion, that you can always learn more by reading other bloggers. Thanks, Michelle!


Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts, Technical Stuff