We spent last weekend in the biggest little city, seeing friends, my son and daughter-in-law,and those two precious grand babes! My daughter-in-law had the great idea to have me take some pictures of the family at a nearby park that has an old historic one room schoolhouse. That old schoolhouse turned out to be a perfect backdrop for our photo shoot.
Now, I do not claim to be any sort of expert on photographing people, but I think I do okay with posed shots. I have a Mac, and I use iPhoto to edit my pictures sometimes, or I use PicMonkey, which is a very easy to use free photo editing site.
Simple backgrounds are always best, I think. (see this simple stained door?)
If the backgound is too busy, it seems to take away from the main focus of the picture. The simple lines of the old doors on the schoolhouse and the white siding make for a perfect, calm backdrop, and my makes my subjects really stand out.
If I am not thrilled witht the backdrop, I can always crop the photo in really tight, and just get the subject, with virtually no bacground showing.
Speaking of cropping, the first thing I do with posed-people-pictures is crop them. I typically crop them to be 8 by 10 constraints, so if I want to get them printed (I always use Walgreens, because I can send them online and they are done in an hour, but you can use a home printer, or whatever...) they will fit nicely in a frame.
Once I crop the photo, I usually sharpen it up. Then, sometimes I change the finish. Here is the same photo from up top there, but in an antique finish.
I am putting this version in my new home office. (oh yes! I am in the midst of creating a wonderful space to work on all of my crafty-computer-y things...my bliss.)
Back to what I was talking about...photographing posed people.
Black and white is another nice way to go. I have ony black and white photos in my cubical at work, and I love the artsy look of them.
Lastly, I take a ton of photos when I am trying to capture something. More is more in this case. The beauty of digital cameras is that you can take 300 pictures, and while you may only end up with five good shots, you aren't out a dime. Just delete the bad shots and move on.
So, there you have it. Photo tips from someone that isn't a pro, but still manages to snag a few great shots.
My buddy's last name is Crawford, and when I found this vintage hanger, I grabbed it and put it away for a fun little Valentine's present.
I made the tag in my print program on my computer, and used a digi-stamp picture of a vintage hanger to carry out the theme.
I hope your Valentine's Day is anything but ordinary!
One of my friends at work had a birthday last weeka nd I wanted to do a little something special for her. I keep unfrosted cupcakes in the freezer, and so I pulled one out, along with some pink frosting I had frozen in a tub as well.
After frosting the sweet little cuppy-cake, I put it in one of my clear cube boxes, and to make it look more festive, (and to make it so the cupcake wouldn't move around in the box) I sprinkled Valentine (red, pink, white)candy corn around the bottom of the cube.
I added a big fat ribbon and a home made tag.....viola'!
We had our "Hearts And Crafts" Valentine party last Saturday,and I thought you might like to see a couple of the details that made the party fun. You can adapt these ideas for any event..birthdays, Christmas, Easter, or special dinner parties, or brunches.
Little details make everyone feel extra special. A simple name tag, done up in pretty colors, and tied to chair backs with multiple coordinating ribbons, makes a really bold (and fun!) impression on guests.
Likewise, a little surprise treat, like these m & m shooters, make a nice surprise at place settings. (I use simple votive candle holders for my shooters, by the way)
Taking it a step further, adding an oh-so-fun flag to your m & m shooter (Leave it to my four year old grandson to think of this..brilliant!)
Of course, I am a huge fan of banners...
,,,they always make your statement loud and clear.
It's kind of exciting though.
I went down to Camas Antiques a couple of weeks ago after work. You know, I have been feeling this creative stirring in my soul for a while now, and when I popped in the shop to visit with Clark one evening, it became clear that what I wanted...what I was longing for...was to get back into my vintage-booth-junkin' groove.
But not in a big-as-in-large way.
No. In a big-as-in-best-I-can-be way. I decided that what I might really-truly-maddly-deeply love was a small space.
So, a couple of days later, I headed back in to sweet lil' downtown Camas and talked with Joanne, the owner of Camas Antiques.
Be still my heart.
She gave me a fabulous built-in case along the wall.
My mind is absolutely reeling with ideas for displays and items, and junk, and all sorts of wonderfulness.
Somebody pinch me.
My Rock n' Roll Buddy says that Valentine's Day is the ultimate Halmark holiday. He doesn't like the idea, or the pressure, of feeling that we have to buy an item to show our undying feelings of affection for our special someone, on a certain day of the year.
And, I agree.
Still, I'd have to say that Valentine's Day is about my most favorite holiday. Put aside the every-kiss-begins-with-Kay jewelry, the long-stemmed-deep-red roses marked up double (or triple) for the occasion, and the heart shaped boxes of 1000 calorie chocolates. Look at what this sweet day represents.
What do you think?
They're all available in my etsy shop, where you can simply open them up from an email, print and cut them, and be ready to have yourself (and your sweetheart) a pretty fabulous (and romantic) Valentine's Day.
This year I'm having a party with some of my Grandsons. We're going to make some Valentines, and decorate some cookies and cupcakes, and we're going to have a very yummy supper filled with heart shaped goodies.
In preperation for the party, I made some fun paper decorations, and I set them up in my daughter's red kitchen as a practice run, so I could share pictures with you.
(What can I say? colored paper and pinking shears are my love language.)
Let's start with the sweet lil' invitation...
...and the Be Mine Banner...
....then I added some homemade flags. (So cute by everyone's place settings...
as well as loaded up in the vintage champagne bucket!)
I painted some nice big Hugs n' kisses letters (x's and o's.....) from the craft store..
In the meantime, I have created a couple new e-kits so you can make these sweet decorations for your own party. They're in my shop now, and will arrive right in your inbox, ready to go, if you like. (Find the banner here, and the flags are here.)
His Mama smooched him up and I took the photos.Pretty danged cute, if I do say so myself.
Valentines day is hot on the heels of Superbowl Sunday, and I've been busy working on some pretty little somethin' somethins' for the occasion.
Last night I started things off by baking a batch of my very-nearly-world-famous signature croutons.
They're so easy to make, and it's a great use of left over bread, burger buns, or dinner rolls. At Christmas time I sometimes use tiny star shaped cookie cutters, and for Valentines day I decided to make them hearts. (Of course, most of the year I just cube up my bread and make them that way....they still taste yummy!)
To make them, all I do is melt some butter (or margarine) and add some Italian season, garlic powder and grated parmesan cheese. Drizzle this mixture over your cut up bread in a bowl, and toss to coat.
Place coated bread on a sheet of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet and pop in a 425 degree oven until brown (around 13-15 minutes. Stir them around if you like mid-way through) Voila'!
If you don't eat them right off the cookie sheet hot out of the oven, that is.
Well, if you follow football, you now know that the 49ers and the Ravens will be facing off for Superbowl, and more interestingly, the Harbough brothers will be facing off as coaches.(I myself was born in San Francisco, and raised in the bay area, so you can guess where my loyalties will lie on game day.)
I've been busy crafting and creating lots of paper goodies for the big day, and I have them gathered into two printable kits in my etsy shop.
Let's start with the banner:I'm going to hang my banner across the porch on Superbowl Sunday, but
today I simply swagged it over the yard chairs so you could see how fun
I created some great printed trivia and quotes about football to place strategically around the party...I think they will look fabulous on the food table, the coffee table, and maybe even on the guest bathroom counter? (Simply print them and frame them in frames from the dollar store.)
Little flags add to the fun...
along with a tag I created and hung on the giant jar of small footballs.
How about Flip Score Cards to rate the commercials during Superbowl, as well as Beyonce's half-time show? Last, but not least, I designed cute little juice wrappers.... fun for kids and grown ups alike.You'll most definitely be ready for some football with all of these fun details!
if you're not having a whole slew of people over for Superbowl, you might still want
to curl up with your sweetie for a little sofa picnic while watching the
big game, and cute little details can make that special too. Now, for the decorations. I like to start with the front porch, and so far I have my blow up football that I got for last year's big game. So cute. (Find it here.)
Then, as long as you're on the Oriental trading site, go ahead and get yourself some football shaped paper plates, lanterns, and anything else that might work for you. (The football cups work great as individual popcorn "bowls" in case you were wondering what to do with 50 of them.)
I discovered some great treasures at the dollar store (A football shaped tray was my favorite find.) for our party, as well as the dollar section at Target. (kid-size footballs that will fill a huge glass apothocary jar on the buffet table.) I got my cardboard letters (XLVII) at Joann's Fabric Store and I still need to paint and glitter them up...more to follow on that in another post.
I've been working on my menu for the party. Of course we are keeping it easy with pizza and wings, but I am also considering pulled pork sliders (using the crock pot would make it so easy!) and of course we will break out the chocolate fountain, just because everybody loves that. Oh, and I got a huge bag of teeny-tiny snickers candy bars with all the NFL Teams logos on the wrappers. (I'm all over the cute factor for this shindig, in case you hadn't noticed.)
Now, if it were just going to be me and my Rock n' Roll Buddy, I'd totally do a sofa picnic, with the same foods, except that I'd do my halftime food spread right there on the coffee table. (How cozy and fun does that sound?)
So...I am wondering just how many of you out there in blogland have Superbowl parties, or go to one. If so, do you go all out with decorations, or keep it simple? What kinds of foods do you do for casual entertaining? I'd love to hear!
Christmas is over, and, if you enjoy football, you know what that means...
The Superbowl will be here before we know it, people.
I for one, am ready for it.
Even if the fabulous Seahawks won't be in it this year.
I know. There is no crying in football. But seriously, yesterday's game was so close.
Next year, guys.
Where was I?
Oh yes. Superbowl, and Superbowl parties.
Did you know that out of the 10 most-watched programs in U.S. television history, eight of them are Super Bowls. In fact, last year's Super Bowl tops the list with a whopping 111 million viewers. And in 2011, the top three most watched programs were the Super Bowl, followed by the FOX Super Bowl Kickoff show and the FOX Super Bowl postgame show.
That's reason enough to throw a party, right?
We're having a fairly small gathering for the big game, and so I made my invitations yesterday while watching...what else? Football. You can make your own invites, find some at any local card store, or look online.
My invites came out so cute that I ended up adding them to my etsy shop as a customizable printable.(Find them here.) I've made a few other items for the party as well, but I din't quite get around to photographing them yet, since we were pretty busy watching playoff games all weekend.
As you can tell, I am ready for some(more)football, and February third just can't get her soon enough for me.
We were picking up a pizza to take with us, so that started my inspiration. I got a pizza cutter, some new pot holders and an oven mit, a nice big pillar candle along with a match-light, some cold beer, and, a nice soft blanket throw for their sofa. Last but not least, I scooped the last of the homemade coconut ice cream into a cute to-go container for a late night snack for our friends.
It took me no time at all to assemble the items. I bought the throw and oven mitts, (gotta love Target!) but I had all the other items at home already, so it was really pretty easy.
I always use my plastic grocery sacks as filler to plump things up...
and then cover them with some shred.
Adding coordinating ribbons to items adds a nice touch...
and a sweet tag I whipped up on my computer pulls it all together....
It looked great, traveled well, and, it went great with the five meat pizza.
And it is oh-so-worth the miniscule amount of effort!
We had friends over last Sunday to watch the Seahawks first playoff game, and it happened to be my gal-pal's birthday. We arrived home from our weekend getaway at noon, and they were arriving before the 1:30 kickoff, so I didn't have a whole lot of time, but I knew I could easily pull it together.
First, I threw the ingredients for her favorite ice cream into the ice cream maker and let it do it's thing. Then, I headed for my craft draw of odds and ends. (Do you have one of those? I think we all need one.)
In the craft draw I chose a long pick with a glittery foam flower. (I got these cuties, four in a pack, a couple of years ago at the dollar store.) I then printed two little tags on my computer, whick simply means that I typed "Happy Birthday" and then spaced down a ways and typed "...and many more!" in purple ink.(In Microsoft Word-font size 36) I cut the tags out like little flags and wrapped them around the pick.I glued them on with a glue stick. (four for a buck at the dollar store)
When we served the ice cream at half time, I stuck the pick in her dish, and her dish of ice cream was suddenly an event.
I love it when that happens.
My birthday is in December, which is just a ridiculous busy time for my family, with three birthdays, a wedding anniversary, and Christmas, so we opted to go on my birthday trip after all of the hoopla was behind us.
That turned out to be a fabulous idea, because there is no nicer way to spend the first weekend in the new year, than a two nights of complete and total relaxation, with no scheduled activities filling up your time.
The first morning after breakfast, the girl at the front desk gave us a little guidebook to help us find our way around town. Well, I am a sucker for creative marketing materials and this little book was very clever. How could you not like a community that boasts a "cute" part of town?
I hope I don't offend any of Cottage Grove's residents, but, as it turns out, the town wasn't all that cute (not compared to Camas, anyway, although I may be a wee-bit partial.) but the people were all very nice, and we did manage to find a few interesting things...they had lots of murals around town...
( Buster Keaton filmed the silent movie "The General" here way back in 1926)
pretty cool, huh? (Hey! Maybe cute lil' Camas should do a mural on one side of that Paper Mill?)
...and seven covered bridges that you could walk through...(which I somehow managed to take zero photos of...)
...a fireplace, and even our very own cozy courtyard with a sweet little picket fence. A nice restaurant with old brick walls, painted beadboard, and oodles of paned windows, was located right on the property in walking distance from our room. We had good wine with dinner, and delicious waffles for breakfast.
It all made for a very relaxing, and memorable weekend.
The most special part of it all, if you know my Ralph, is that staying in a charm-filled Inn, in a quaint little town...is so not him.
But he knew it would be so me.
And that makes my heart swell.
The past three years I have chosen a word to focus on for the year. Actually, the first two years I stuck with the same word, which was balance. Last year I switched it up just a bit and chose organize.
Along came 2013 and I have chosen a word once again, that is kinda-sorta along the same lines.
I imagine my words may always be along this theme, because I am a creative type by nature, and that is not conducive to being organized and balanced necessarily, as creative folks generally are whirl-wind types.
This year my word is…
Mmmm hmm. This is going to be my year to (hopefully) pare things down a little bit. Try living a lifestyle of less is more, verses more is more. Have you heard the quote, “ Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”? That’s what I am striving for this year.
How about you? What’s your word for this wonderful-new-without-any-mistakes-in-it year?
Oaky, I will admit that I have been overcome with the glitter bug this week. this being said, last night I ended up carrying it through to one last new year's eve item.
Mmm hmm, I was thinking, how about making the beverage of the night that much more festive? Or, for a new year's day brunch? For that matter, adding some gold glitter to any beverage bottle would also make quite a statement as a hostess gift as well.
Whether it's champagne or sparkling cider, or even wine for that matter, the process is the same...I got a bottle of sparkling cider that happened to have gold foil paper at the top. (Several champagnes are wrapped this way as well) Take a small jar of gold glitter (or you can use white, or silver glitter if you'd like....the possibilities are endess!) and some household glue..
Working over a piece of paper of some sort, rub an ample amount of glue on the bottm half of the foil and down onto the glass bottle itself...
Sprinkle the glitter over the glue. Stand the bottle up to dry, and use the paper as a funnel to put the over-spill glitter back in the jar.
Happy New Year's Eve, everyone!
And to make cutie patootie lil' tags and such.
But this year, time slip-slided away from me and Christmas baking didn't actually happen other than a double batch of snowball cookies.
Sad, I know.
Then, it occurred to me that there was still time before the official holiday season wraps up to do my baking and share it with friends and family. After all, there is still New Year's Eve coming up!
We will be bringing in twenty thriteen at a band gig, and I was thinking....What could be more fun than to surprise the other band-mates and thier sweeties with party bags, full of prezzies and treats?
I tell you, I got so excited about my idea that I was like a tornado running around the dollar store, and then whipping through my craft supplies, looking for my most perfect sparkly-glittery-it-must-be-new-years-eve stuff. (Seriously, I was able to get the party hats, gift bags, and horns all for under six bucks at the dollar store, and I have plenty of extras!)
I think I've covered all my bases:Party Bags. Check.
All that's left to do is bake my cookies, and assemble all the goodies in the bags. If everyone has half as much fun opening these presents and using them on new years eve as I did making them, we're golden.
The living room.
At Christmas time.
I had originally wanted to do a ginormously tall, but slender noble pine Christmas tree in the living room this year, but, even though Thanksgiving came a little earlier in the month this year, we ran out of time.
(That seems to be a pattern with me these days, I've noticed.)
This year, the big tree found it's home in the corner of the dining room. Then, what we ended up going with in the living room was a fabulous on-loan-from-my-daughter thrifted small white artificial tree, which I placed on the trunk at one end of the sectional.
I love it!(Is that an incredible tree for two dollars at GoodWill, or what?!)
Splashes of red, grey and black added more Christmas-y color on the white sectional..(See my vintage red and white quilt? I adore it!)
....with snowy, glittery accents around the room...
along with lots of family Christmas photos.
The best part of all of this is the fact that I can keep the festive reds and greys going through winter, for Valentines Day, and then, when I am tired of it (and you know I will be) I can pull out my favorite-color-of-spring, Robin's egg blue, to change things up.