Thursday, August 30, 2012

Photographing Children - Create Opportunities

I will be the first to admit that I take a lot of photos of my children.  I feel like they change so quickly and I do everything that I can to capture them as they grow.  It is also just a great excuse to practice my photography skills which I am always trying to improve on.  I would say that for the most part, my kids are really good sports about having their photos taken.  Of course I get the occassional "no, I don't want my picture taken" but I am surprised at how often they will go along with my requests.  I really try to make it fun for them....and for me.  If I am stressed out and worried about capturing the perfect photo, nobody will have fun. 
One of the ways that I capture these fleeting stages is by creating opportunities to take their photos.  I do not need an excuse to take their photo but I will find ways of engaging them in the session.  In many instances that is by using an item or something that they are excited about.  My girls will jump at the chance to have some photographs taken in a new outfit that they had just picked out.  My son loves to have his photo taken with his remote control car, his bunny or an action figure. 
A few years I had seen some images of a little girl dressed in her mother's wedding dress.  I wish I could give credit to where I saw this but I don't remember.  At any rate, I have thought about doing this for awhile.  I suggested this to my daughters.  My oldest said "no way" and that was it.  My younger daughter was ALL into it.  She had so much fun dressing up in my gown and I have to say that seeing her in my wedding dress was extra special.  I am in love with these photos and cannot wait to scrap them. 

It was such a fun shoot and I treasure these photographs.  We had one little issue when Wiley decided to walk across the train and slobbered as he went but it was all good.   I think people will often stay away from doing little photo shoots with their children because they automatically think it is going to be stressful. My advice is to try and find ways of engaging your child in the shoot.  What are they going to be excited to share through a photograph?  If it is a new toy, new outfit, or something that makes them feel magical....take it and run with it.  You will be happy that you did!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Creating Keepsakes Website

Creating Keepsakes has a new special edition coming out next week.  It is called "Better Digital Photos and Scrapbooking" and I'm so excited about this issue.  Creating Keepsakes asked me to do a few tutorials for this issue and actually I'm over on the CK website today with two video tutorials.  One is on blending and can be found here.  One is on extractions and can be found here.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Class Schedule for Fall

Fall is right around the corner and it is always such an exciting time of year.  The kids are excited to get back to school, football season is underway, the colors will be changing before we know it and I'm excited about my fall schedule of classes.  It has been a very busy summer and I'm really looking forward to the start of these classes.

Generations is my new class that is designed to inspire people to bring their old photos out of the shoebox and into a beautiful, well-organized album.  I have spent the entire summer working on my heritage album and this class.  I am so excited to share it with others.  I love working with heritage photos, stories and memorabilia.  There is something extra special about giving new life to photos and stories that could have been lost if I hadn't felt they were important to pass along to future generations.  

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This class starts on September 4th and it covers all facets of creating and designing both pages and an album.  You can find out more information about it and register here.  I hope to see you in class!  

Blending and Beyond is back!  This class holds a special place in my heart.  It has been such an amazing journey to share my passion for blending with so many people.  I'm really excited about this opportunity to teach more people about the techniques that I use to design my scrapbook pages.  This class will run from October 8 - November 12.  It includes 6 video recordings and 2 live webinars filled with my "go-to" techniques.  You can find out more here and you might want to register while the early bird special is still in place.  

If you have taken Blending and Beyond before and would like to join in on the fun again.  You can audit the class by going here.

Blending & Beyond Booster Workshop  I have been lucky enough to have so many amazing people take my classes.  Everybody has been so kind to me and their eagerness to try new techniques have really been so inspiring to me.  When my blending classes have come to a close, I often hear "I don't want this class to end".   I am also sad when a class comes to a close and wanted to find a new way of extending the class.  We are now offering this "Booster Workshop".  It is designed for anybody that has taken Blending & Beyond and is interested in seeing more demonstrations with the techniques taught in this class.  The workshop runs during the week of November 25 - 30.   It will include 2 live webinars and 1 prerecorded video.    If you have taken Blending & Beyond and would like to see more demonstrations...this workshop is for you.  You can register for it here.

Early Bird Coupon Code:  BOOSTER1 

I am really looking forward to these classes and hope to see you there!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Photographing Children - Have Fun

As many of you know, I am very passionate about preserving memories and photography.  I thought it would be fun to run a little series on photographing children. I am not a professional photographer...not by a long shot by I absolutely LOVE photographing children...not just my children...any children.  There is something so special and magical about capturing little moments of childhood.  

Last week I had the pleasure of photographing my best friends adorable children.  I had a blast and they did an amazing job.   In addition to hanging out with these two cuties and my best friend, I was also fortunate to do the shoot on one of the most beautiful golf courses in Minnesota with a new lens in hand.  It couldn't get much better than this.

I think there are a number of key things that you can do when photographing children to make it much more enjoyable for everybody.  When I am photographing children, my main focus is to have fun with it.  I try not to have any major expectations and just enjoy the process of it all.  Kids are so spontaneous and energetic.  You never know what each moment will bring.  I have found out that the more stressed I am about getting the perfect shot, the less likely they are going to respond to me.  I try to be extremely laid back and follow the lead of the kids.  If they are relaxed, the chances of capturing something genuine is much more likely than if they feel they need to perform for the camera.  Here are some of the photos from that night...

I brought a few props along to use as a means of distracting them if they were needed.  This little guy fell in love with this stool.  I had real toys along and yet, this stool was IT for him.  He carried it all over the golf course and he decided where he wanted it placed.  It was a win-win...he liked deciding where the stool should go and I was able to capture a beautiful little boy who was enjoying the process.

During this shoot, Olivia was on the move.  I was sweating shortly into it trying to keep up with her and decided that I probably wasn't going to get a closeup of her face because she was in constant motion.  I didn't try to force the issue....I just went with the flow.  The we stopped by a local farm to see horses and sheep.  She was captivated with the animals and the opportunity was there to snap away.  I adore these sweet shots of her.  Once again, I just followed the lead of the kids and went with it.

Olivia's mom brought out some bubbles later and Olivia couldn't get enough of them.  They both did such an awesome job and I had so much fun.

I think it is so important when working with children to really be cognizant of what you can do to put children at ease.  Playfulness, patience and willingness to follow their lead can go a long way when capturing these precious personalities.    Thank you Kris and family for such a fun evening!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Winner of Sept/October issue of Creating Keepsakes

The winner of the September/October issue of Creating Keepsakes is Rosy!  Congratulations Rosy!  Please send me your mailing information to and we will be happy to send you this issue. 
It is starting to feel a lot like fall around here.  After a very hot summer, the temperatures have dropped slightly and it is just perfect here.  I love fall!  I'm looking forward to the gorgeous colors, the kids going back to school, my new class,  football, and apple picking.  There is just something special about fall.

We are headed out of town for the weekend.  We are taking a quick trip up to the north shore along Lake Superior.     We did this last year and had such a great time.  It is our last little excursion before school starts in early September.  Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Scrapping Simply Sale

I just saw this sale at Scrapping Simply.  My folder has been filling up and I am ready to get some pages printed.  The timing couldn't have been better!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Creating Keepsakes September/October 2012

The September/October 2012 issue of Creating Keepsakes is hitting newstands today.  This is Creating Keepsakes Top Ten issue and it is loaded with ideas.  In fact, it has 30 extra pages.  You will find lots of inspiration related to back-to-school, autumn layouts and halloween.  You will also find:
  • 10 creative ways to breathe new life into your stash
  • 10 techniques to translate layouts to reflect your theme or style
  • 10 itty bitty products that will make a huge impact on your layouts
  • 10 tips from fresh faces
  • 10 tricks for using numbers to tell your next story

This is another fabulous issue! It is always a bright spot in my day when I go to the mailbox and CK is there. You can purchase this issue at Creating Keepsakes or at your local newstand.

Creating Keepsakes generously gave me one issue to give to my blog readers.  All you need to do is leave me a comment on this post.  Tell me what you are most looking forward to this fall.  On Friday, I will draw a randow winner and get this awesome issue to you!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Photo Swap at Designer Digitals

There are so many wonderful aspects of being involved in an online community.  I will admit that the first time that I uploaded a page to the gallery at Designer Digitals my stomach was turning.  I was a nervous wreck about putting my work out there for others to see.  Well, it turned out to be one of the greatest things that I have done for myself.  Everybody was so warm and welcoming and it felt so great to connect with people who actually "get" what I am so passionate about.  It feels like a family at Designer truly does.  I have made friends from all over the world as we share the ups and downs of our lives through this amazing hobby.  I have a whole network of online friends, some of them I email regularly, some of them I have had the privilege of meeting in real life.  I feel so blessed to be a part of such a warm and not to mention talented family.

I really enjoy going through the gallery at Designer Digitals.  It is so inspiring and there are so many talented people posting pages that truly leave me speechless at times.  I love looking at the variety of styles and learning new ways of preserving my memories.  

Amy Mallory is one of my dear friends who I have met through this crazy hobby.  I have not had the privilege of meeting Amy yet in person but I know that I will one day.  She is amazingly talented and has a heart of gold.  I admire her on so many levels.  Recently she organized a photo swap at Designer Digitals.  We have had over 20 pairs of people sign up and it has been such a fun challenge!  The pages have been AWESOME and it has been so fun to see people connecting through this challenge.

I happened to get paired with Amy Mallory (mymalloryboys) and immediately had a flood of photos flash through my mind that I would love to hand over to her.  She has such a beautiful style and so unique.  Here is the photo that I sent her.  Amy has three adorable boys and I thought it might be fun for her to do a girl page.

This is the page that Amy created for me.  When she sent it, my jaw dropped open.  I absolutely LOVE IT! It is so beautiful and as always, Amy's attention to detail just shines.  When I showed Ellie, she said "WOW Mom, that is soooooo awesome".   Thank you Amy for sharing your amazing talents with us.

Amy sent me these adorable pictures of her son Campbell playing in the sand.  I will admit it was a bit intimidating at first but once I started playing, I had an absolute blast creating this page.

Here is the page that I created for Amy.  All products are from Designer Digitals.

This was such a fun challenge and the photo swap will be happening in October again.  I know I will be signing up again.  It was so fun.  I will keep you posted and hope you can join in next time.  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Jana's Jumpstarts

It is hard to believe that it is August 10th already which means there is another Jana's Jumpstarts over on the Creative Passion blog.  Creating Clusters is the theme for this week.  I hope you can check it out and join in.  I also want to remind you about Digital U.  I am looking forward to hanging out with Amy and Pattie on Sunday night and hearing some tips about how they create beautiful clusters that add so much to a scrapbook page.  Digital U is free and it is a whole lot of fun.  I always enjoy these sessions.  You can register for Digital U here.  I hope to see you there!

All products are from Designer Digitals and can be found here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


It has taken me a few days to get my feet back on the ground after vacation.  We had a wonderful week up north.  We go with Jeff's family every year and absolutely treasure our time away together.  I have so many photos to scrap, I'm not quite sure where to begin.  I thought I would share a few here.

We spent a lot of time in the middle of the lake just jumping off the boat.  The kids & Jeff got the biggest kick out of it...

Our vacation started on the same day as the Olympics...which by the way have been so awesome to watch. Each year we have a theme...last years theme was "Minute to Win It".  There was no doubt that this years theme would coincide with the Olympics.  Here are the kids marching their "torches" around the resort for our opening ceremonies.  I LOVE this shot of them.

The resort has a duck race every year and we all look forward to it.  There are about 60 ducks in the race each year and Ellie's duck had a huge lead heading into the final leg and got stuck in some rocks.  Guess who's duck when flying guessed it.  Quinn won the whole duck race and was over-the-moon excited.  Our family experienced the sweet taste of victory that day and the agony of defeat!

Papa had a memorable vacation.  On day 3, he decided he was ready to try waterskiing after 25 years.  He looked like he was doing well and then things fell apart....literally.  Papa broke his leg waterskiing and had to be rushed to the hospital.  He underwent surgery and has a long road ahead of him.

Spent a little time on the golf course and I love how Mia swings the club...

A lot of time spent on the beach....

A little fishing time off of the dock...

Ellie and Quinn couldn't get enough of the tube.  I must have taken 100 shots of them.  I just love seeing their sweet expressions....

Here is papa a couple of days later.  The golf season is over for him...

The kids love to jump off of this raft out in the lake...

And the jet ski is always so much fun...

This was our eighth year of this trip and these weeks are packed with such special memories.  I love that.  I create an album every year of this trip and it is so fun to flip back through the pages and relive these special moments!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tiffany Tillman's Blog

Hello everybody!  We are back from vacation and had a wonderful time.  It feels good to be back.  I will share more about vacation later in the week but just wanted to share a blog post with you. 

I was approached by Tiffany Tillman a few weeks ago.  Tiffany Tillman is a very talented digital scrapbooker, designer and also teaches classes at Renee Pearson's website.  I have enjoyed her work for years and frequently see her work in so many wonderful publications.  I was tickled that she even knew who I was.  At any rate, Tiffany put together an ebook on digital scrapbooking style and asked if I would contribute.  I was thrilled to be a part of this.  Tiffany has part of my contribution up on her blog today.  I just wanted to mention it in case you were interested.  Thank you Tiffany for your kind words and for letting me be a part of your project. I am looking forward to hearing more about other scrapbookers.