Monday, April 13, 2015

iPhone Camera Lenses

Happy Monday, every one!  I hope it was a great weekend.  These past few months have been extremely busy and time is flying by.  How is it mid April already?  The bathroom project is still dragging on and I have been working on furniture jobs and making final plans for the trip.  And if I am being totally honest, I have been a little burned out lately.  Just tired and sluggish and unmotivated.  I think I am pulling out of it and have a productive week planned.

I have mentioned our trip several times but have yet to give the details.  At the end of this post, I will tell you about where we are going but first I want to tell you about these cool camera lenses I have  been using.  They are tiny and will fit in my cross body bag easily.  Plus they are extremely affordable.

With all the touring and moving around we will be doing on the trip, I do not want to carry a huge camera around but want to have something better than my normal iPhone camera.  I did some research on the best apps and lenses and ended up ordering this set of iPhone lenses from and love them.  The app I have been using is the ProCamera app.  It automatically does HDR which I like and it also has a night option that gets great pictures in low light.  Maybe y'all haven't noticed my improved pictures on Instagram but I have.  I am no professional but there has definitely been some changes for the better lately.

The only downside is there is a special case that you have to put your phone in.  I have always had a heavy duty case to protect it so I was a little apprehensive at first to have such a light cover on the phone.  I actually like it better than the huge case but I am a little more careful to not drop it.

The lenses just screw on to the iPhone case and then screw off.  That easy.  They are light weight and come with covers as well as the pouch. Perfect for travel.  Honestly, just using the ProCamera app instantly improved my pictures but I love the wide angle lens for taking shot of long dressers or getting a full wall into view in a small room.  I think that is the one I'll use the most.  The portrait zoom lens is nice for up close shots and the fisheye is just fun.

Here are a few examples of pictures using the ProCamera app with the lenses.  No other editing has been done.  They are all taken at the same time of day from the exact same spot.

First picture is just using the ProCamera app, no lens.  Second picture is using the app with a lens.

This set is no lens, then the wide angle lens.

This set is no lens, then the fisheye lens.

This set is no lens, then the portrait 1.5x lens.

Here are some of Sabine.  She wouldn't lay completely still but same concept as the dock.  Same time and same place.  Just different lenses.

This set is no lens, then the wide angle lens.

This set is no lens, then the fisheye lens.

This set is no lens, then the portrait 1.5x lens.

So obviously, this app and these lenses are not going to replace a DLSR camera but for those of us that don't want to invest the money into one or the time it takes to learn, this is a great option.  In combination with some of the better editing apps, some pictures can be impressive.

So on to the trip.

As y'all know, my parents moved to Germany last year for my dad's job.  Germany has been some place my brother and I have always planned to visit since we are from German heritage.  It is a place we always wanted to visit together and now it is happening! Bonus of taking this trip now, our spouses will be with us and part of our time there will be spent with our parents and exploring their new home.

We will be gone for 15 days.  I am not going to lie...I have anxiety about leaving the dogs for that long.  Thankfully we have a great house sitter that spends the night with them and great friends that are willing to come over during the day.  Also, we installed some cameras in the house so we can watch them from our phones or a computer.  Yes, we have become those people.  :)

Anyway, we are flying to Frankfurt to stay with our parents in Mannheim then my brother, SIL, husband and I will head to Munich.  From there my brother and SIL are going to explore Austria and other parts of Germany on their own and Blittle and I are going to France.  We will be staying in a country side B&B in Normandy then we will be in Paris.  Here are a few of the things planned:

  • Castles and other cool landmarks with my parents
  • Food tour in Munich
  • Neuschwanstein Castle
  • Museums and varies other Munich activities
  • D-Day Beaches
  • Mont Saint Michel and/or Etretat
  • Caen, Bayeux, Honfleur and other coastal towns
  • Walking around Paris
  • Bicycle tour of Paris
  • Eat good food

If y'all have any tips or off the beaten path places we must see, let me know.

The camera lenses and case:  

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

How to Remove Pressure Gauges from Shower Fixtures

Hey, hey, everyone!  Great news.  We fixed the hot water issue and have been using the shower!  LOVE. IT.  Obviously, we still have a lot of work to finish the entire bathroom but other than the glass door being installed, the shower is done!

Today, I want to share with you how I removed the pressure gauges from our new shower fixtures.

Our home has amazing water pressure.  It was almost painful if the water was turned up too high with our old shower heads.  When we started our master bathroom makeover, one of our concerns was losing that great water pressure.  All new water fixtures, sink faucets, bath faucets and shower heads, all come with pressure gauges that restricts water flow. If you look at the description of any new faucet or fixture, you will see a number followed by GPM (Gallons Per Minute).  It is about saving water and money which is nice, but so is having a great shower.

I decided to take the pressure gauge out of the standard shower head and the hand held shower head.  I did not remove the gauge in the rain shower head because it is meant to be softer.  Also, I had never seen that shower head in action so I wanted to hook it up as is first.  It does let plenty of water through so for now, I am leaving the gauge.  SIDE NOTE: In Texas (might be different in other states), the plumber will not remove the pressure gauge for least they are not supposed to.  I believe, correct me if I am wrong, I don't think they can even install it if it doesn't have the pressure gauges.  You have to do it yourself.  Here's how.

SIDE NOTE:  Your shower head may have more than one gauge.  They can vary in size and colors.  Be sure to save your washers!  They will go back in after the gauge is taken out.

This is not hard but you do have to be aggressive.  It is crazy to be ripping something out of your new, expensive shower head but it is worth it.

These are the tools I used.

  • Drill with small drill bit
  • Needle nose pliers or clamp scissors (not sure if that is what they are called)

First, take the shower head out of the packaging and look at the connection.  You should see a washer and a plastic insert (your washer might already be out and placed separately in the packaging).  Take out the washer and put it somewhere safe.

In most fixtures, the plastic gauge will be under the washer.  Mine is purple in this shower head but is white in the hand held.

At this point you may be able to get it out with the needle nose pliers.  Just clamp onto to anything you can grab and pull out.  My gauge was stubborn and didn't have much to grab onto so I drilled a hole in the center of it.

This allowed me to get my clamps under it a little to have more to grab onto.  It pulled out pretty easy after I drilled the hole.

Check to make sure there isn't a second gauge in the fixture.

Once the plastic gauge is out, replace the washer.  That's it!  You are done.

Here is what the other hand held shower head looked like.

There were two pressure gauges in this shower head.

Once you have removed the gauges and replaced the washers, you are ready to install.  I will have an installation tips & tricks post next week.

Happy Thursday!

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Update ~ 3/27/2015

Hi all.  Last Friday, I talked about installing our fixtures and actually being able to shower in the shower.  We got the fixtures installed...but we are not using the shower.

First let's start with the fixtures.

They are installed and we have fixed any leaks that we could find.  I am working on tutorials for taking the pressure control gauge out of the fixture and tips & tricks for installation.  Look for them next week.  Here is what the bathroom looks like now.  (No my walls are not curved.  I used a wide angle lens so there is some curving in the picture....and sorry for the bad lighting)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Update ~ 03/20/2015

So I fell off the Friday Update band wagon for a few weeks.  Sorry, guys.  It happens.  If you follow me on Instagram (you should if you don't!), you know the past few weeks have been filled with nights at the rodeo, updating the blog (y'all know technology hates me), and working on projects other than the bathroom.  Plus, I took several days off to be with my mom while she was visiting from Germany and spend some time with my best friend while her kids were on spring break.


We have stalled a little in the bathroom.  My goal for this project is to stay on budget and to not stress out too much.  Since we have another bathroom in the house, having this one all messed up isn't that big of a deal.  Other things have taken up my time and energy so the bathroom has been on the back burner for the last few weeks.  Tonight we plan on installing the rest of the fixtures and hopefully we can use the new shower this weekend!

Tile and grout done.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Skiff Bed

As the name of my blog suggests, I am a fisherman's wife and if you have been a reader for a while, you know that fishing, boats and the water are a big part of our life along with updating our home.  To take it a step further with our DIY lifestyle, my husband and I have built several boats together over the years.  (I am still trying to get him to guest blog about the boat build)

Many of you have seen our dock pictures with the boat on the lift.  That is our second boat to build together and is our personal boat.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Update - 02/27/2015

Super short update.

Y'all.  Praise him, I am done tiling.  About 2, 948 lbs have been lifted off my shoulders.  If I wasn't such a freak about details and perfection, it would have gone much faster but I am type A all the way.  (I think that could be a shirt.)  At one point this week, there was a mountain of clean clothes laying in the hallway for days.  My floors were filthy (Those of you who know me personally know I can't stand dirty floors).  We ate out more in the past two weeks than we have in two months.  I was a bit of a mess BUT in the grand scheme, it is worth it and temporary.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Master Bath - Shower Prep

Hi, everyone!  Today I want to share how we prepped the shower for tile.  There are a gazillion tutorials out there on how to waterproof, hang backer board and prep so I am not going to do a step by step tutorial.  This is more of an overview of what worked for us and at the end of this post, I included a few of my favorite videos and blog posts about bathroom updates.

Planning is extremely important!  There is a lot to think about when you are prepping a shower space and when the space is stripped down, you have to be sure to do all needed changes BEFORE the backboard goes up get done.