A warm house

Last weekend we had a house-warming party. One of the great features of our new house is it has a very nice yard, and a garden house, great for entertaining. We invited as many friends and neighbors as we could. It was a lot of work, as we were not yet done unpacking everything from the move, but with Clare starting a new job on August 15th, we thought it would be better to have the party sooner rather than never. It was a warm and sunny day, around 31C (90F). Fortunately we had quite a bit of shade, though people did move some tables around as the shade moved, which was fine. In total we had about 50 guests. Things went fairly smoothly. We made lots of different types of wraps which we cut up into pieces with toothpicks. They were a big hit. The cucumber sandwiches were also popular. We also had a freezer full of ice cream treats, which probably did not get advertised enough. The biggest hit of the party was likely the chocolate chip cookies. It was a bit of a pain to bake them during the party, but they really are best fresh out of the oven. Clare and I took turns baking them.

Spencer actually had to go get his picture taken with his soccer team at 13:30. He called at 14:30 and asked if we were ready for guests yet, and I said no. I was still picking up the last things and setting out a few things. By 14:55, the first couple people started trickling in, just friends of the kids. Then we waited a bit for more guests. By 16:00, the party was starting to get going. By 18:00, it was in full swing. By 21:00 many people were starting to leave, and we said farewell to the final guests around 22:30.

I wasn’t certain if people would bring gifts or not, and most did. We got lots of flowers – some cut, and some to plant in the garden – even a fig tree!. I know that Clare is going to enjoy all the plants for a long time. We also got some other fun presents, including a picture of a map of Würselen with the location of our house. We also got some traditional bread and salt, which is a tradition in Germany for bringing good luck.

All in all I think the party was a success. The main thing I would do differently next time is get more non-alcoholic drinks, particularly Bionade , and get some coolers and ice, since refilling the refrigerator with warm drinks did not work very well. We are looking forward to more garden parties!

Panning photography

go-karting-004

I got a new camera earlier this year, and I spent some time watching youtube tutorials on photography techniques. One technique I have been wanting to try out is panning – this is when you intentionally move the camera while you are taking a picture. You focus on a moving subject, and move the camera along with the subject. This keeps the subject in focus and gives motion blur to the background. A few weeks ago I took Spencer go-karting with a friend and his dad. All four of us did one round (I came in last place), and then the boys did another round. I enjoyed taking pictures much more than driving. This was a perfect opportunity to try out some panning shots. I think they turned out pretty good. For the very last picture I actually did not pan. I used a faster shutter speed so everything is in focus.