Are you interested in taking photographs that tell a story, capture a moment, or express a feeling? Do you want to learn about all the settings and options on your camera? Today’s digital cameras are powerful tools. By learning a few fundamentals, anyone can create memorable photographs. We will take the mystery out of capturing great photographs.
This course covers the fundamentals of digital photography, including the use and care of your camera, lens, and basic photographic accessories. The course reviews principles related to composition, exposure, and focusing. Tips will include how best to photograph people, landscapes, flowers, and wildlife.
This course is for people who want to move beyond simple point-and-shoot photography. Each session of this three-week class emphasizes learning by doing. Important: This class is designed for camera that allow for adjusting settings.
Your instructor, Sharon Fisher, has photographed people and wildlife around the globe from the Arctic to Antarctic. Sharon has been taking photographs since she had her own dark room in high school.
Class meets for 3 Monday evening sessions. 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Jan. 21 and 28 and Feb. 4. Classes will be held in our upstairs studio at 205 E. Main St., Front Royal, Virginia.
Class policies: We understand that scheduling conflicts do happen. You may cancel your class for a full refund up to 48 hours before the first class, by phone or in person. No refunds issued after this time.
In case of inclement weather, we will reschedule the class. Please check our Facebook page for updates on class cancellations due to weather.
Virginia’s Creative Harvest: Celebrating Farming with Hay Bale Art
Hay Bale Decorating Contest Showcases Agricultural Pride and Community Talent.
As autumn colors adorned Virginia, the state’s agribusinesses, community groups, and educational organizations displayed their creativity and agricultural pride in the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s (VFBF) annual Hay Bale Decorating Contest. Now in its ninth year, the contest has become a cherished tradition, drawing a record number of 59 entries, each telling a unique story of Virginia’s rich agricultural heritage.
The competition invited participants from across the state, including county Farm Bureaus, FFA chapters, 4-H clubs, and individuals, to create imaginative displays using hay bales. The themes were as diverse as Virginia’s agricultural landscape, depicting farm animals, idyllic farmscapes, horticulture, farm machinery, and a variety of Virginia-produced commodities.
Faye Hundley, VFBF Women’s Leadership Committee chair, expressed her excitement over the record participation. “The imagination and ingenuity everyone puts into the hay bale displays is always so impressive,” she said. More than just a fun activity, these hay bale artworks serve a dual purpose – they are not only visually appealing but also play a significant role in fostering discussions about farming and connecting communities with their agricultural roots.
Local businesses and organizations, including farmers’ markets and school agricultural groups, were encouraged to participate, highlighting the contest’s role in strengthening community bonds. The winners, spanning various categories, were awarded a $100 cash prize and a trophy, with their accomplishments celebrated on the VFBF Women’s Leadership Program Facebook page.
The winners of this year’s contest were:
The VFBF, with nearly 135,000 members across 88 county Farm Bureaus, stands as Virginia’s largest farmer advocacy group. This non-governmental, nonpartisan, voluntary organization remains dedicated to supporting and promoting the state’s vital agriculture industry.
The Hay Bale Decorating Contest is more than a display of creativity; it’s a testament to Virginia’s agricultural spirit and community involvement. Through these artistic expressions, participants have showcased their talent and highlighted the importance of agriculture in their lives and those around them. It’s a colorful reminder of the state’s deep-rooted connection to the land and the people who cultivate it.
Samuels Public Library Rewards Young People’s Talent with Holiday Writing Contest
On Thursday, December 7, at 6 p.m. at Samuels Public Library in Front Royal, the library held its annual Holiday Writing Contest, rewarding young people’s talent at every grade level with first, second, and third place for each level, assigned by teachers and other volunteers from the community who served as judges.
A packed room revealed how important this event is to the community. Each child seemed to have his or her own support group present, as in many cases, cheers erupted from a specific part of the room when the announcement was made for the winner of a particular slot. All the winners, individually, walked bravely to the front of the room, where they stood with children’s librarian Michal Ashby, who recognized them, and sometimes read their contributions aloud in the case that they did not want to read it themselves. At the end of each child’s reading, Ashby distributed a prize and encouraged the audience to give applause once again as the winner returned to his or her seat.
The contributions demonstrated insight and maturity, due in part, perhaps, to the books the young people have been reading. The attendance of family and friends implies that the young people are not reading in isolation. Certain reoccurring themes were present in the stories these children told: the importance of family and friendship; the importance of leadership, often exercised by a child; the importance of home as a warm center that offers shelter from the beautiful but sometimes overwhelming elements; and the power inherent to receiving a gift. The stories were not unacquainted with conflict and war; but in each case that this darkness was acknowledged, the main character rises above that evil to bring the magic of Christmas to his or her community. Each story or poem was a testimony to the partnership between the library and parents, dedicated to nurturing the imaginations of tomorrow’s leaders. Looking at the structure, which is Samuels, this reporter was reminded of the words of Audrey Hepburn in the classic film War and Peace: “You’re like this house. You show your wounds, but you’re still standing.” Indeed, Samuels is still standing.
The holiday writing contest is one of Ashby’s favorite parts of the year. She looks forward to it, even during what has been a difficult year. “I’ve been doing it for eighteen years,” Ashby explained, “And it’s, in my opinion, one of the most heartwarming events we have throughout the entire year because the kids get so invested in their work, and they’re so proud of what they’ve done. And then the parents and the grandparents and the siblings, they’re rooting them on. So, it’s a time that I see their self-esteem raised. A lot of them share the most beautiful, heartwarming messages and if you actually listen to their stories and their poems, they really know the essence of what Christmas and Hannukah and all the winter holidays are about.”
Going on to speak about that evening specifically, Ashby said, “I was so touched by some of the poems and the stories.” Ashby hears in these award-winning pieces the indomitable spirit that overcomes differences and brings people together. “What touched me so much this year were the messages of peace and unity, and I think that’s what we need in this society.” She added, “It’s a wonderful way to bring in the winter holidays in the most positive way because you’re getting together two hundred people from the town, and it’s this community, and they’re all proud and joyous for their children, or their siblings, or their grandchildren, and to feel that positive energy is just exquisite.”
The evening ended with refreshments and winners posing for pictures in front of Samuels’ Christmas tree.
Selling Your Home During the Holidays: A Festive Guide to Success
Navigating the Holiday Home Sale: Tips for a Seasonal Success.
Selling your home during the holiday season might seem like a daunting task amidst the festive frenzy. However, with the right approach and a sprinkle of holiday magic, you can transform your home into an inviting haven for potential buyers. Here’s how to make your home stand out in the real estate market during the most wonderful time of the year.
- Enhancing Curb Appeal: First impressions are crucial. Ensure your home’s exterior is well-maintained, with walkways clear of ice and snow. Tasteful holiday decorations can add a welcoming touch but keep it simple and elegant to appeal to a wide range of tastes.
- Showcasing Winter Features: Utilize the winter season to highlight your home’s cozy features. A crackling fireplace, an efficient heating system, or a relaxing indoor spa can be major selling points, demonstrating the comfort and warmth your home offers during the colder months.
- Creating a Warm Indoor Atmosphere: Inside, aim for a festive yet uncluttered look. Subtle fairy lights and a tastefully decorated Christmas tree can create a cozy and inviting environment. Remember, the key is elegance and simplicity to avoid overwhelming potential buyers.
- Scheduling Wisely: With the holiday hustle and bustle, timing is everything. Coordinate with your real estate agent to schedule viewings at convenient times for buyers. Flexibility is essential during this busy season to accommodate the schedules of interested parties.
Selling your home during the holidays doesn’t have to be a challenge. You can attract potential buyers even amidst the holiday cheer by focusing on curb appeal, highlighting your home’s winter assets, creating a warm atmosphere, and strategically planning viewings. Remember, a local real estate agent can be invaluable in navigating the seasonal market and ensuring your home shines its brightest during the holidays.
Holiday Crafting: Create Your Own DIY Christmas Ornaments and Decorations
Easy and Festive DIY Ideas to Spruce Up Your Holiday Decor.
The holiday season is a time for creativity and warmth, and what better way to embrace this spirit than by crafting your own Christmas decorations? Making your own ornaments and decorations personalizes your holiday decor and brings a unique sense of joy and nostalgia to your celebrations. Here are three simple yet delightful DIY Christmas decoration ideas to try with your family.
1. Hand-Painted Wooden Ornaments: Start with plain wooden craft ornaments, available at any craft store, and gather some acrylic paints and brushes. Unleash your creativity by painting festive designs such as snowflakes, holly, reindeer, or Santa Claus. Add a personalized touch by inscribing your family members’ names on them. These ornaments can add a homemade charm to your Christmas tree or become cherished keepsakes.
2. Festive Mason Jar Lanterns: Transform ordinary Mason jars into enchanting lanterns. Coat the jars with glue and sprinkle glitter for a snowy effect. Insert small LED candles or string lights to create a warm, twinkling glow. These lanterns can beautify any space, from your mantle to your dining table, adding a cozy and inviting ambiance.
3. Felted Snowflake Garland: Craft a charming snowflake garland using white and light blue felt. Cut out snowflake shapes and stitch them together, embellishing them with silver beads or sequins for a bit of sparkle. This garland can be draped along banisters, walls, or doorways, adding a festive flair to your home.
DIY Christmas decorations are a fun and meaningful way to engage in the holiday spirit. They enhance your home’s festive atmosphere and offer a memorable crafting experience with your family. So, head to your local craft store, gather your supplies, and start creating your own holiday magic.
Fauquier Health Supports Salvation Army and Local Families With Angel Tree Donations
December is an important month of the year where we focus on the holiday celebrations, take time to reflect on the past year, and look forward to beginning a new year. The Fauquier community has a great deal of holiday traditions every year from Feed Fauquier, Christmas Parades, Lights for Life, Angel Tree Donations, and more. This year the Fauquier Health team rallied together to support some of the local families in need as identified by the Salvation Army, located in the town of Warrenton.
According to one of our team members, “This has been an emotional and rewarding experience for us to participate in. We are so thankful to have played a part in this initiative.” Another team member shared, “We really got to see our hospital family come together to support the community we live in. Departments rallied together to help families in need with their wish lists like cribs, technological devices for their child’s education, clothing essentials, outdoor activities, and more.”
About Fauquier Health
Fauquier Health is a community health system dedicated to high-quality, patient-centered care in a unique environment that considers the multiple facets of healing and respects the individuality of each and every patient. Located at 500 Hospital Drive in Warrenton, VA, Fauquier Health serves the residents of Fauquier and several surrounding counties. It comprises: Fauquier Hospital, a fully accredited, 97-bed hospital; Fauquier Health Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, a 113-bed long-term care and rehabilitation facility; the Villa at Suffield Meadows, an assisted living facility; the Wound Health Center and a medically supervised Wellness Center offering health and wellness programs. Fauquier Health also operates several physician’s offices, including primary care, general surgery, OB/GYN & Midwifery, and other sub-specialties. More information on Fauquier Health is available online at FauquierHealth.org or by calling 540-316-5000.
Virginia Proposes Adding 12 Plants, Including Kudzu, to Noxious Weeds List
Virginia is considering adding 12 more plants to its noxious weeds list, a compilation of species that are banned from use in the state because of the damage they provide to ecosystems.
On Thursday, the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services held a public hearing on the proposed additions. No one spoke during it, but one comment was submitted via the state’s online regulatory Town Hall website from Chesapeake resident Rogard Ross, who said he “strongly agrees” with the additions.
“You should also add English Ivy, Japanese Stilt Grass, and Linden Viburnum,” wrote Ross. “These are all terribly invasive plants in our local parks in Chesapeake, Virginia.”
The public comment period is scheduled to end Friday, Dec. 8.
The plants proposed to be added to the list are:
- Two-horned trapa
- Garlic mustard
- Chinese yam
- Autumn olive
- Lesser celandine
- Bicolor lespedeza
- Amur honeysuckle.
- Japanese honeysuckle
- Common reed
- Japanese knotweed
- Siberian elm
Two-horned trapa would be added as a “tier 2” noxious weed, a classification given to plants that can be suppressed or eradicated. The rest would be added as tier 3 noxious weeds, those that experts say can’t reasonably be wiped out.
Virginia also compiles an invasive plant species list that is used for informational purposes. There’s no restrictions for the vast majority of plants on that list if they are deemed “commercially viable.” But when the negative ecological impacts of an invasive plant are deemed to outweigh its economic benefits, officials can place it on the noxious weed list.
The state began the process of considering the latest additions in 2021. Larry Nichols, director of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Consumer Protection, said the species were recommended by the state Noxious Weeds Advisory Committee.
The 12 plants “are highly adaptable to their environment, are copious seed producers, and can overwhelm native plant species through rapid growth and spread, resulting in the displacement of the native, desirable plant species,” Nichols said. “Controlling these plants is costly and long term once they become established.”
Following the public comment period, the Board will vote on the regulation, and pending approval, it will continue through the review process.
This article was updated with information on the next steps for the regulation to be enacted.
by Charlie Paullin, Virginia Mercury
Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sarah Vogelsong for questions: email@example.com. Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.