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Friday, September 25, 2009

Photography: Angles, Part II

Amanda's oldest stinker-boy
Part II is simple: Shoot from above your subject.
One of my favorite angles because it eliminates double chins. (Not that any of these subjects suffers from the dreaded turkey neck.)

My Ma-Ma and our kiddos
I really adore these first two photos. However, in my effort to continually improve, I often critique my own work. In the first one, I am so mad that I cut off his toes. In the second one, I would have adjusted the glasses on Jack, so as to not have the top of his frame cutting right through his eyes. Mind you, it doesn't keep me from enjoying these photos, it just reminds to pull back a little to include tiny toes and double-check where glasses are sitting on a subject.

Our daughter, Daniella and our fur-baby, Ella

This shot of Daniella and Ella is one of my all-time very favorites. I love how it looks like Ella is smiling and I just remember what a joyful afternoon that was - our little girl playing with her new doggy.

Happy picture-taking!
P.S. Sorry my font sizes are all over the place! I've tried correcting it and have just about burst a vein in my neck trying to fix it. My apologies.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Photography: Angles, Part I

Disclaimer: I am not a professional photographer. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Noooo. Just kidding.
I am constantly learning and my goal here with photography posts is to share what I have learned through my experiences or have been taught or have read with you so you may learn how to make a better photograph.

This post is about using the background to tell more of the story. Backgrounds can either be a distraction or a vital part of the story. A lot of times when I am shooting a portrait, I get in close to eliminate anything which may take away the focus from my subject. This results in a tight shot. Like this:
Bethany's youngest cutie-patootie
However, you (as a photographer) will become bored looking at the same kind of shots over and over. Not to mention that some of us might not be as fond of such a close-up of ourselves. Why can't chipmunk cheeks be cute in adulthood?

So my challenge or tip for you all to try is to pull back a bit and consider including important background elements.

This was not only the first day of school, but their first time riding a school bus. A simple smiling shot with new backpacks would not suffice.

This is Christmas morning and lucky us! Santa left presents and a thank you note for the cookies. Ahhhh. Mexico. Our first vacation (won by my awesome salesman, hubby of mine) without children in nine years. Sunshine, a cabana, frozen fruity drinks, beautiful blue water and palm trees. This shot takes me right back there...
It can even work for a family portrait, as seen here:
Aren't my nieces adorable? I give all the credit to my super sweet SIL, Kristin.

I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have questions. I always appreciate your comments!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

While here...

...we saw a plaque with this printed on it: "I'm not mean. You're just a sissy." My dear friend said (while laughing) "That is SO you!"
A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.
How true.
I have friends who have seen me at my worst, friends who have been with me through tough times and still they are my friends. If you're lucky enough to have a few friends like this, then you're lucky enough.

I want to introduce you to the friend who inspired me to start blogging - the same friend who declared that sign to be "so you." Friends, meet Bethany, of Borderland Traveler.

Her writing is thought-provoking, witty, entertaining and for me, educational. If I make it through a post of hers without copying a word down to look up, I feel like I've won the lottery! Words I've learned from reading Bethany's blog: detritus, gustatory, poultice (which has nothing to do with chickens - so misleading) and tincture. She probably does crossword puzzles with a pen. If you already were using these words - good for you! You
really need to take a looksy at her blog.

See, B. has a gift for putting words together. Her stories about her four, yes, four children
(feel free to gasp) are riotous. Check out this one for proof. How about this conversation recorded between three siblings? What a hoot!

In addition to being a talented writer, Bethany is a bold crafty girl. This is a recent fabulous project for her youngest one's room. While we've explored our crafty talents together, she is a perfect match for my "let's see how we should do this" attitude - saying "oh, let's just do it"! For her take on our crafty adventures, check out this post, where she so generously introduced me to her blog readers.

She's a true friend. A spirit-filled cheerleader, an encourager and one who always manages to see the silver lining. Who would have thought years after playing an ill-fated game of Pictionary together, we'd be such good friends?
Remember I said I have friends who've seen me at my worst? During that game of Pictionary, poor Bethany was on the receiving end of "I can't believe you can't tell what that is!", from yours truly. Yeah, I'm lucky this girl hung around. Lucky enough.
In honor of B., I'm passing along this fabulous bookplate which I found here.
You can find loads more there and they are free for personal use. My son pointed out that the black and white ones would be fun to color in!
Thanks Bethany, for inspiring me! My writing will never compare to yours, but I'm so glad I caught the blogging bug!


Thank you for coming back!
I really do want to be more consistent with my posts..I wish I was a better writer.
Until then - here is a card I made for our friend and neighbor, Ann, soon due with a baby girl.
And I promise I'll be posting again soon!

Card: My Mind's Eye, boxed set (Hobby Lobby)
Ribbon: Archiver's
Embossing plate: Michael's (long time ago) and I can't remember the brand
Checkered paper: A Muse Art Stamps (I think) - came via my local stamping store

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?!?!?!

Steelers Pictures, Images and Photos

I AM!! I'll keep this post brief since I know I've lost many of you already...the season begins tonight and you will find me glued to the game. That's right, your crafty pal is a tomboy at heart. I watched football with my dad growing up and now love watchin it with my honey! I have my own Terrible Towel and have been known to scare children and dogs with my cheering at times. I had pictures of Jack Lambert (he's the guy at the bottom of my blog) on my wall in college. My roommate did ask that I take down the one showing him without his teeth. I don't believe I did, but we remain friends.

I also want to mention the button I've put up for the blog
I'm so excited to be part of this talented group of people! Each week is a different theme, picked by one of the contributors to the blog. Our assignment then is to take a photo to go with that theme. Many write about the photo or include a poem. Some photos speak for themselves. It's fascinating to see all the different perspectives on one topic. I hope you'll check it out and let me know what you think!

So much for keeping it brief. :D

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Another Halloween Countdown Calendar!

How cool is this?!? My good friend, Amanda, made a countdown calendar for Halloween! I love how it turned out. All her dates have glitter or some fabulous treatment. She painted her baking sheet (bought for $2.99 at Target) and modge podged her calendar on it. She used Dollar Store goodies she'd had in her stash.
Here is a close-up of some of her cutie-patootie dates:I'm thrilled by everyone's responses and sweet comments and so flattered I actually inspired some people! Thanks for sharing your calendar, Amanda! You rock!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Have a Beautiful Day!

A quick post - hoping you had a fabulous Labor Day weekend. And sharing a card...Sunflower stamp: Stampin' Up
sentiment stamp: A Muse Artstamps
gatefold card: DCWV

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Halloween Countdown Calendar

I love Target. Seeing those Dollar Bins right inside the doors thrills me. I know. Get a life, right? Today I found these fabulous Halloween letters stickers and it made me think I'd better share my Halloween countdown calendar with you all in case you want to make on and save your sanity - or at least a portion of it. How will it do that, you ask?

I don't think I'm the only one who gets tired of the same question every day, sometimes asked repeatedly throughout the day. "What's for dinner, Mommy? " I'm baffled as to why they still ask this. Being the Mean Mommy that I am, my answer is almost always "food". This started because I used to not plan ahead so much and I had no idea at that point. I'm getting a little better, but the question drives me crazy, so I still tell them "food". Well, "When is Halloween?' starts the split second a leaf turns orange or the chill in the air returns. This project makes a nice decoration, serves a purpose and the kids really enjoy taking turns taking the date off the calendar.

Here are some of the materials I used:
* old baking sheet * halloween themed papers * variety of number stickers * rub-ons * tags * acrylic paint * magnet strips with adhesive * greeting card * table-top easel t
o hold the finished product
I got my money's worth out of this baking sheet and knew I wanted to make this project, but any cheapie baking sheet you can find will work, too. I painted the edging and part of the front with orange acrylic paint. I didn't spray a sealer over it, but did put on two coats.

Next, I used manilla paper and measured out squares for the dates and smaller rectangles for the days of the week. I used rub-ons for my days of the week, but you may have lovely handwriting - me, not so much.
Playing around a bit, I decided where I was placing different elements of this calendar. I came across a cute little 99 cent card with this kitty on it and wanted to use it. I know the kiddos will outgrow the cuteness eventually, so I placed magnets on the back instead of adhesive.

Once I knew where everything was going, I cut my black dotted paper to cover the baking sheet not covered by the calendar. I used a decorative edge punch on the black paper and glued it down. Glue down the "Halloween" (also came from the greeting card), the "countdown" and the empty calendar.

Now the fun begins! Dig into your stash of number stickers, decorative papers and all those crafting goodies I know you've got hidden somewhere. I used a bunch of metal tags and metal numbers made by Making Memories which I've had for years. Some shapes were just paper punched and stickers applied.I used a couple of button pins I think I found at the dollar store. I had googly eyes left over from another project and glued them on a slide holder. Anything goes!Once done, just cut pieces from the magnetized roll to fit on the back of the dates. I got my magnetic strip at Hobby Lobby.
Rather than look at a blank calendar much of the month, we opt to put all the dates on and take them off one at a time and place them in a little basket after dinner each day.

If you happen to not have a bunch of products, or much time, you can still make an easy version of this calendar. Go get some stickers from the dollar store and place them one at a time on a school calendar or family calendar the little ones can see and reach. Works just the same! :D Now they can look at the calendar and figure out how close Halloween is all on their own!

If you're in need of a creative jump-start, go to You can find greeting cards, scrapbooking pages, photography and projects like this. I get tons of inspiration from everyone on there.