Bokeh Effect with Your Christmas Tree Lights

I love taking pictures of the tree and the “Bokeh” effect is one of my favorites.

Let’s first start with the definition of the word “Bokeh”.  Check out this link from Wikipedia.  Basically it means “blur” or “the aesthetic quality of the blur,  in out-of-focus areas of an image” or “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light.  And it’s pronounced “boh-ka”.


These were all taken with my Canon EOS Rebel T3i DSLR camera with my 18-55mm lense.

This is a picture of the centerpiece that is on our coffee table with the Christmas tree in the background.  I’m about 5 feet from the tree with the centerpiece right in front of my camera.  I was sitting on the floor.  Just focus your camera lense at the object closest to you and the lights on the tree should be blurred.  You can use a 50mm lense or like the one I used the 18-55mm lense.  More of the portrait size lenses work well to capture this look.

{f/2.8, 1/50 sec, ISO-3200}
I backed up a little further for this shot, so I was probably about 6-7 feet from the tree to get more of the tree lights into the picture.  Just keep backing up more and more to get the tree.  If you are taking a picture of your kids or dog in front of the tree, just keep moving the object {kids or dog or anything else} with you and the camera.
{f/2.8, 1/40 sec, ISO-3200}

{f/2.8, 1/60 sec, ISO-3200}
With this picture the stockings are “blurred” out in the background.  I’m probably about 3-4 feet away from the stockings.
{f/2.8, 1/40 sec, ISO-3200}
Just capturing a close up of the centerpiece here.
{f/2.8, 1/40 sec, ISO-3200}

OK, now I moved into the kitchen, so I’m probably about 15 feet away from the tree now.  I have a bowl full of ornaments on our island in the kitchen and that is what I focused on with more of the tree in the background.  Again the bowl of ornaments is right in front of my lense.  Focus on the ornaments right in front of you.

{f/4, 1/40 sec, ISO-2000}

A little bit more of the tree in this picture.

{f/5, 1/50 sec, ISO-3200}

If you let the camera focus past the ornaments and focus on the tree, this is what the picture will look like.  Now the ornaments are a blur and the tree is in focus.  Still a nice picture, but you don’t get the blur of the tree lights.

{f/5.6, 1/60 sec, ISO-3200}

I took a couple of steps back for this picture and it gave me more of the tree, but as you can see the lights aren’t such big blurs anymore.  You can see more where all the lights are on the tree instead of blending into one another.

{f/5.6, 1/30 sec, ISO-3200}

I pulled back the lense on this shot to see more of the room, but still focus on the ornaments.  You get to see most of the tree this way.  Now to explain a little further, I sort of bent my knees to get this picture because the bowl is lower to the counter top.  I wanted more of the tree in the shot.

{f/3.5, 1/30 sec, ISO-1250}

Zoomed in a little closer to the ornaments and got the TV out of the picture in the background.  But I still captured most of the tree in the background.

{f/4, 1/50, ISO-1600}

Now I moved onto a taller vase with ornaments in it.  It’s still on the kitchen counter, but I didn’t have to bend my knees to get the tree in the picture.

{f/5.6, 1/25, ISO-3200}

Zoomed in more on the ornaments and the light blurs became larger on the tree now.  Just keep playing around with the distance from the tree in the background, but always keep your subject or object closer to you and the camera.

{f/5.6, 1/40, ISO-3200}

Even closer in this picture.  Bigger light blurs.

Here I wanted to show you {in this very old picture} where the tree is placed is in where I was standing to take this picture.  So you can see how far away I was in the kitchen to take the pictures of the tree.

Now I took some regular close up pictures of the tree so you can see the details.  I love my sock monkey.  I used to have one as a kid and it was so much fun to find this little guy last year.

We bought a nice big gold bow for our tree this year.  I wanted to keep the gold, bronze and turquoise theme going in the Living Room as well as the Dining Room.  It is our Great Room, so I wanted it all to coordinate.

My mom made the ceramic santa when I was probably 5 years old.  I’m proud to hang it on my tree now.  She passed them onto me now because she only puts up a small tree and doesn’t have room for the ceramic ones.  I have more, but I didn’t take pictures of all of them.

You can also check out our Dining Room Tablescape post here.

Stop back for more details on the tree skirt.  I’ll show you how I got a nice fluffed-up tree skirt by recycling something.
How did you decorate your tree this year?  What colors did you use?  Do you love Bokeh pictures?  Are you going to go home and try to take Bokeh pictures now?  Hope this detailed post helped some of you out with how to get this look with Christmas lights in your pictures.  Enjoy and have fun with it.  If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment area.  Anyone have any other better information on how to take Bokeh pictures?  We would all love to hear.  So everyone can share away in the comments section.  :)
Thanks for stopping by everyone!!!  Have a great day!!!  :)

Thrifty Decor Chick

Entertainment Center Christmasfied!!!

Of course I had to layer my entertainment center.  I couldn’t just layer the Dining Room table.  You can check that out here.

I started out with one small picture frame on the left {it’s one of our engagement pictures} and two small bowls with ornaments on the right side.

I felt that the two small bowls weren’t enough, so I went and got one of my small white planters {from Ikea} and put some ornaments in that too.  The arrangement needed some height and this little wite planter did the trick.  I can’t block the TV you know. πŸ˜‰  And I don’t have a mantel to play around with, so this in a way is our mantel.
{small turquoise bowls from HomeGoods & white planter from Ikea}
I added some Turquoise beading that I bought at Target, that was left over from my Dining Room Tablescape.  So this all cost me $0 because I had already bought some of it and I had some of the decor.
Added Gold beading, also left over from the Tablescape.  Just keep layering it in until you are happy with what it looks like.
Some of the details.

Tip:  if you don’t have enough ornaments to fill the whole vase or bowl you can add filler to the bottom of it.  You could use paper crumbled up or even a small cup up-side-down to fill in the space and the cover with the ornaments.

I really love using small bowls or planters, some small ornaments {there are actually two sizes of ornaments} and some beading and/or garland to layer.

Have you Christmasfied your Entertainment Center or Mantel?  Let’s see some pictures.  Link up your blog in the comment area and share please.  I love to see what others are doing and get some great ideas for next year.  Let’s share the love…well in this case the Holiday Decor.  :)

Come back next week and I will have more of my Christmas decorating up on the blog.  The tree, tree skirt & our Family Room….just to name a few.

Thanks for stopping by everyone!!!  Have a great day!!!  :)

Tablescape 101 – How To Layer a Table for the Holidays

So with the Christmas season right in front of us now, we have started to decorate for the Holidays.  I figured I would start with our Dining Room table first because Centsational Girl is having a contest on November 30th for tablescapes.  So make sure you check out Kate’s blog on the 30th for all the pretty tablescapes.  I can’t wait to link up.

  OK, so let’s get started with “How to Layer Your Table for the Holidays”.

My colors for this year are:  Bronze, Gold, little bit of White and a touch of Silver thrown in and the pop of color is Turquoise.

One clean empty table.  I started by putting all the table leaves in, because we need to fit 10 guests at this table.  We have around 19 guests for Christmas, but there is another table set up in our Family Room that holds most everyone else.  More details on that another day.

Then I added the table pads and my new table cloth from HomeGoods.
Here is a close up of the table cloth.  It is a gold satin Ikat.  It’s not so stripey looking in person.  It only cost $19.99 for 118″.  Cha-ching!!!
I added a cake plate I bought at HomeGoods next.  It kind of looks lost on that big table, doesn’t it.
Close up!!!  I love the gorgeous Turquoise color.
I then added some candles on top of the cake plate.
But then I decided that I really wanted a table runner as well, so I put down a Jute table runner.  It just grounds the center of the tablescape for me, but you don’t have to use one if you don’t want to.  Plus I know I always want to stay on the table runner with my decor….kind of keeps me in check when I’m layering the table.  You want to make sure you still have room for your glasses & plates.  πŸ˜‰
Here I added two bronze squenced trees to either side of the cake plate with candles.  Now that cake plate doesn’t look so lost anymore.
Next I added some gold/silver garland around everything.  I try to lay it down kind of back and forth and around things.  It doesn’t need to be perfect in anyway.  Just lay it down the way it looks pleasing to your eye.
I used two pieces of garland for this look.  I like it to look full and fluffy.

I then added beaded garland in Turquoise to break up all of that Gold garland.  Plus I threw in some ornaments, in Bronze, Gold & Turquoise.

I will show you more of the details in a minute.  Let’s finish the layering first.

Here come the place settings!!!  I wanted to go with a casual setting, so I mixed and matched what I put on the table.

Let’s take a closer look at the table settings.  I used my everyday water glasses and my everyday silverware.
But for the plates I used some Turquoise plastic plates as my “chargers” {yes I said plastic, well it’s melamine plates for outdoor use}.  Then I broke out my good China and put that on top of the chargers.  They are white and silver, so they were still simple.

 Here are some close up details of the centerpiece.  I added beaded gold garland around the candles…even letting some fall off the cake plate a little and then I added different size ornaments all around to complete the centerpiece.

A closer-close-up!!!
An even closer-close-up!!!
Here is a close up of the ornaments I placed on and around the Gold/Silver garland and beaded Turquoise garland.

I love these Bronze squence trees.  I bought them a few years ago at Burlington Coat Factory.  Yup, they sell more then just coats.  They have a pretty good selection of Holiday decor and even everyday decor.
Now we couldn’t forget the chandlier.  We hung about 12 ornaments from pretty Bronze/Gold ribbon I bought at Michael’s.  I love all the colors hanging down and complimenting the tablescape.
So here is the full view of the whole table and chandlier.  We love how it turned out.
Well I hope you enjoyed “Tablescape 101 for the Holidays”.  It was fun putting it all together and we love the outcome of it as well.
Here is the break down of the cost of this project……..
Gold Satin Ikat Table cloth = $19.99 – HomeGoods
2 gold candles = $4.99 ea. – HomeGoods
2 bronze candles = $3.99 ea. – HomeGoods
1 white candle = $5.99 ea. – HomeGoods
Cake stand = $12.99 – HomeGoods
Ribbons = $.99 ea. {sale} – Michael’s
Gold/Bronze Ornaments {5} = $5.00 – Target
Turquoise & Silver Ornaments = $7.00 – Target
Grand Total = $72.89
For $72.89, I created a whole new tablescape that I didn’t have last year.  Last year I had mostly Gold, Red & Green throughout the Dining Room, Living Room & Kitchen.  Sorry I didn’t blog about my holiday decor last year.

I still have ribbon left over & some of the Turquoise & Silver ornaments, so it’s the decor that keeps giving.  πŸ˜‰

You can check out this post for all the details of the products I bought for this project and some other decor I bought for our house.

So has anyone else started decorating for the Holidays?  Let’s share what you have done already or what you want to do this year.  Did you know that Burlington Coat Factory sold decor?  Do you like Turquoise, Bronze & Gold together?  Let’s hear all about it.  Share away ladies!!!  :)
Thanks for stopping by everyone!!!  Have a great day!!!  :)
Also Linking Up to:
Home Stories A 2 Z

The Lettered Cottage

Christmas Has Begun…

…well the shopping has begun!  πŸ˜‰

I wanted to share the new Christmas decor I bought, so far, for this year.  I wanted to add Turquoise to the mix this year.  So I will be using, Gold, Bronze & Turquoise and probably a little bit of white.  I’m in love so far.  Just can’t wait to start to put together everything in our home.

I bought all of this from HomeGoods….my BFF!!!  I love the sparkly bronze and the simmering brushed gold candles.  I just have to find the right Turquoise colored candle now.

I bought lots of Turquoise ornaments and even some Bronze & Gold ones too.  I love those star burst looking ornaments to the left of the picture.  We will see where they end up.
Here is the gorgeous cake plate I found at HomeGoods.  It was just the right size for the candles.  This will be the centerpiece on the Dining Room table hopefully.  Praying it turns out the way I envision it to look.
Here is a close up of some of the glass Turquoise ornaments.  The colors are more Turquoise in person.  They read a little more green in these pictures.  I was having a hard time with the lighting that day.  I have two boxes so some of them will be going on the tree and some else were, but I haven’t decided where yet.
Look at these lovelies!  Beautiful turquoise glass ornaments.  I bought these in two sizes.  They are prettier in person.
I couldn’t resist these fun bronze starbursts.  I also bought them in gold.  Three in a pack, so I have six total.
This piece I just couldn’t resist.  We will put it in our Family Room downstairs, since our Christmas tree is upstairs in our Living Room.
Here is what it looks like up-close.  There are clear LED lights on the inside so it lights up.  It looks pretty cool when it’s lite up.
Now my shopping trip turned to Target & Michael’s
Check out these gorgoues gold & bronze ornaments.  I can’t wait to hang these up.

Some Turquoise & Gold Icicles and beads.  They will probably go on the tree and some of the beads will probably go on the Dining Room table.

Small Turquoise ornaments will be used for filler maybe, or the tree or even hanging from my chandlier.  I haven’t decided yet.

Ribbon for the ornaments for the chandlier & front Living Room window.  Bronze on one side, gold on the other side.  It’s gorgeous!  Thanks Michael’s.

Here is the break down…

2 gold candles = $4.99 ea. – HomeGoods
2 bronze candles = $3.99 ea. – HomeGoods
1 white candle = $5.99 ea. – HomeGoods
Cake stand = $12.99 – HomeGoods
Christmas Tree = $39.99 – HomeGoods
Ribbons = $.99 ea. {sale} – Michael’s
Gold/Bronze Ornaments = $5.00 ea. – Target
Turquoise & Silver Ornaments = $7.00 – Target
Turquoise & Gold Icicles = $2.00 ea. – Target
Turquoise & Gold Beads = $2.00 ea. – Target

Grand Total = $120.89
Total if you take away the Christmas tree = $80.90

So for a whole new look this year, I ONLY spent $80.90.  I already have lots of gold & bronze ornaments at home from last year.  So this years ornaments are just supplimenting what I already have.  Not too bad for a whole new look with the Turquoise this year.  Now in the future, I have a lot of different colors to choose from because I already have red, green, gold, bronze, silver & turquoise ornaments & decor.  Nice!!!

This year, I want to hang some of those pretty glass ornaments from the front window in our Living Room with the gorgeous ribbon I just bought.  I can’t wait to put it all together.  Plus every year I hang ornaments from our chandlier, but this year they are going to be even nicer with the ribbon.

So has anyone else bought new Christmas decor for this year?  Where did you shop?  Get some great prices?  Let’s hear it ladies!!!  Leave a comment and share your details.  I want to hear it all!!!

Thanks for stopping by everyone!!!  Have a great day!!!  :)

Weekend Bloggy Reading