Turning 54: A Film


While my son is on the job hunt, he found a video transfer device for me to buy so he could transfer all of our old VHS tapes, and 8mm tapes to a digital format.  He is done!  And I couldn't be happier to have this completed.  This is the one I bought and it seems to have worked well.
One thing I have noted as we watched bits and pieces of these tapes: I wish I would have recorded more of the places and the adults. (I mention that too in the last little film)  The adults shy away or we just put the camera on the toddler learning to walk.  And while yes, that is cute and I'm enjoying re-watching my kids learning to walk,  we all agree that we sure wish we could see more of the adults at the birthday parties and family gatherings.  I suppose it really just hits home because of losing Jim and now both of my parents.  I realize how much Jim didn't talk when the camera was on because no one likes to hear their own voices on tape. 

  Tape yourself.  Tape the other adults too.  Your kids you are taping will also love to see their aunts and uncles, grandparents, and of course parents when they were younger.

Here is a bit of an attempt.  But, I'm not talking on it yet. Ha!  Baby steps.

I didn't tape too much because the big problem with getting in front of the camera is that you aren't behind the camera, so it takes more planning and effort. 


Turning 54 from Jill Ruskamp on Vimeo.



Who doesn't love the drop and pick up game played with a one year old?!

Happy Monday!

Moving Day: A Short Film

We moved our son a few weeks ago out of his apartment.  By the time we came to help, he had already dismantled much of it. I tried to get a little bit of the place to help him remember it.  I think it would be great fun if I could go back and watch a video of the apartments and houses I lived in through college!  People often don't think to tape or photograph the things and places of their lives.  Of course we want to see people, but it's so fun to see the rest of the story as time goes on too.  I haven't done a lot of that in the past, but some.  I'm trying to do more of it.  This was all shot on my phone.  It was cold, beginning to snow, and get dark, so there wasn't going to be a lot of dilly dallying around to get good video shots.  It's a good memory piece.

My Not So Little Dancers


Our dance recital isn't until the end of April, but they have already had "picture day". 


This year, since I have my little studio space in my basement I could take their pictures myself. Of course they still go down to the studio for the group pictures.


I really need a bigger space and back drop than I have as they are getting so tall!


They were such willing participants, it was so much fun.


I had other ideas to to try, but I didn't allot enough time on this day for experimentation.


They are in separate tap/jazz classes, but are in the same ballet class.  The costumes are soooooo pretty this year!


A Little Known Fact



So I had another birthday....and I guess that always makes a person reminisce. And, go dig through old papers. This is kind of a fun trip down memory lane and something few would know about me.  

I played a horse in Equus in 1990!  It was in a community theater in Sioux Falls, SD, but none the less...I had a part!


Now, I announce this fact like you all know about the 1970s psychosexual play that won a Tony and had Daniel Radcliffe star in it in the 80s

And, maybe you do.  I do now, but truthfully, I had no idea what it was about when I went to audition for it.

No idea whatsoever.  

My first baby was about 6 months old and we had just moved to a new city, new state right before her birth.  I had started a new job and Jim had started his Family Practice residency all in the past 8 months.  Apparently, I thought that all wasn't enough adventure and decided to try to get a part in a play.  

I'm pretty sure it was actually just the opposite.  Life was too much and I needed an outlet.  

I came home from the auditions laughing and told my husband "Apparently there is normally a nude scene for the lead actor, but this director decided to do it clothed!"  I remember sitting there as the director announced all of this with my best poker face on.  Trying to be cool like the other kids, knowing all about famous plays and all.  When they asked me which role I'd be auditioning for, I mumbled something about being open to any of them???  Apparently you should know such a thing before going in for an audition.  Poker face again.  I believe I was good at that face.  That's called acting.  hahaha!!  When I got a call to be in the chorus which included being a horse, "a customer" with two lines!,  and a "theater goer", I was thrilled. 


My husband went to one performance and thought it was agonizing!  We had a tape of it somewhere and he joked that we would use it as a punishment for the kids to have to watch someday.
Trust me when I say he didn't insult me.  All the acting was actually quite good, that wasn't his complaint.  It was the drama of it. Not our cup of tea.


That's me!  Jill Martin then.


Page 2 of "that's me"!


From the newspaper then.  Look at the awesome horse heads that were constructed for us!  They were a great likeness of those used on Broadway.  


That's me on the left. :) 

Of course, when this has come up in conversation over the years...
Me: "I played a horse in Equus"  
Every other person: "Really, which end of it??"

Another Film!

We were in "the city" a week or so ago for some appointments and had to drop off something to my daughter.  So.....having videos on my mind, I took along my camera.  So much I want to say about how this should be better (and it is better thanks to input from my son and daughter!) but once again,  if I aim too high at the beginning, I won't even start.  So here we go again.  :)  By the way, my daughter had tried a new TexMex crock pot dinner that her oldest two didn't like. 



I could watch that little toddler granddaughter of ours toddle all day long! ♥

The next project up is "Moving Day" from when we moved our son out of his apartment on Sunday.  I bought the app for my phone from the same company as my Desktop program, hoping to tape and edit on my phone for the times when there isn't time.  As on a moving day in January. Arg...there has been a big hiccup in the program that I'm still trying to iron out with the technical support people.


Snow Days

After two days off of school and my husband stuck at the farm, we are back to our more routine life.  The snow we got on Monday morning was truly beautiful albeit a bit annoying for those who had to get out in it.  (ahem...my farmer husband)

I decided our snow days would make for a fun home movie.  I've been inspired by Xanthe Berkeley for years with her Time Capsules and Mini Movies and hope in the near future to take a course from her.  But, first I had to learn to use some software and the video aspect of my camera.  My first project was a little film of a visit to my new great niece.  For me when I'm learning something new, it's better to have a focus on a specific project that I for sure want to bring to completion.  When we knew Sunday that the snow was coming early Monday morning I had the focus to do this film and was ready to begin filming.

There is so so much to learn and some more equipment to acquire to help improve the video quality,  but if  a person waits for perfection, you won't get started.

So I've started.

Here is a glimpse into our two snow days:
(There is music if you want to turn on your sound.)

I see a heart in the hot chocolate. See if you do too!


SNOW DAYS from Jill Ruskamp on Vimeo.

If you were wondering, my daughter was working on posters for her speech for the upcoming high school speech contests.  Also, we could use a bigger hill around here!

Before I got started with this film making endeavor, there was much reading and debate with myself (I actually paced the floor for awhile.) about which software to use and how to find music that I could license. I ended up buying PowerDirector 16 by Cyber Link for the video editing and subscribing to Soundstripe for music.  I have been so very pleased with both of them.  Xanthe recommended Soundstripe and has a discount on her blog.

I hope this is just a beginning of many more and eventually improved films.  

I Fish You'd Read This


Last year about this time, I became a little obsessed with fish.


I made a wire fish, a fish sachet, and these.  Valentine fish. ♥  For my family and a friend.


I'm still obsessed, just haven't made any recently.  I cut these little "sweethearts" out of lathe boards on my scroll saw and then I wood burned and painted them.  All along while making them I was thinking about fish puns.  To send along with my Fish Valentines. It was hours of entertaining myself. :) 

So these little cards went along with a stringer of three fish to my Valentine's.



I didn't know I would think a stringer of little wood fish would be so fun!

I just thought of another one!

"Don't string me along, will you be mine?"




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