Now that’s a genuine smile …

Come a little closer, brothers …

Those wandering eyes …

Finally! Success! (Card template by Shabby Miss Jenn Designs.)

In Pictures

I’m a huge fan of giving photos and photo-related presents at Christmas, especially to family members. My parents love to tell me how they need absolutely nothing and not to spend a dime — not the best way to plan my gift list.

My oldest is a senior in high school this year, so I’ll definitely be doing some nice, big prints to give all four sets of grandparents this year. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, so it’s OK to not have his siblings in the picture. I hope. The storyboard up there is likely what I’ll be framing to give to them, although I’m not 100 percent certain if those are the pictures (and text) I’ll be using. Pink Ink Studios has some great storyboard templates for sale (although you need to be comfortable with Adobe Photoshop and layers to use them), if you want to make some of your own. I like to get mine printed at either MPix or Scrapbook Pictures. To save a little money, I try to make sure I use standard sizes so I can buy a ready-made frame and mat instead of having to spring for custom framing (it’s also a great timesaver, if you are in a hurry).

I love combining cute with useful, so photo calendars are another favorite gift on my list. There are tons of services available that let you plug your photos into ready-made calendars (Snapfish, Kodak Gallery, Shutterfly, FedEx Office/fka Kinkos, Zazzle). Or you can buy a digital scrapbooking kit that will let you do the same thing. I prefer the kits, because you have more control over the final product. I’m a huge fan of the calendar kits from Shabby Miss Jenn Designs and the Shabby Princess. I’ve bought from both sites and been delighted with the final product every time. Probably my favorites are the CD-case calendars. They’re compact in size and so useful, sure to be a hit.

Continue reading “In Pictures”

In Pictures

In my mailbox this weekend came the most beautiful magazine, the Autumn 2008 issue of Life Images by Somerset.

I have been eagerly anticipating its arrival and was not disappointed. So much beauty between the covers! It’s such an inspiration to me and really makes me want to work even more at my photography.

I am often asked about my photography. I have to be honest; I really don’t think I’m qualified to give anyone advice! I embrace the hobby and work at it when I can but there are so many people who are much better at giving advice. I use a Canon 30D and have some lenses that I love (namely a Canon 50 mm/f1.4, a Tamron 28-75mm/f2.0 and a Canon 35mm/f2.0 that seems to have a bum motor). I’m a huge fan of the book Understanding Exposure. I took two wonderful photography courses at The Showcase School in Atlanta last year; I still refer to my notes often! And I think the best thing anyone can do is just practice, practice, practice.

I’m so honored to have three of my photos in this issue. And just flabbergasted by the news last week that they had accepted another piece of my work for an upcoming issue. My joy is boundless.

Headless No More

Meet Maureen, my Pullip.

I felt like a proper introduction was in order, after sharing her in a less-than-flattering shape a couple of weeks ago. Thanks to a helpful friend, I purchased an Obitsu body for her and now she’s ready for some fun.

Maureen is a Little Red Riding Hood Pullip and has the most beautiful red hair and green eyes. Her stock costume doesn’t fit this body — it’s a little bit bigger — so I ran to the store and picked up a Barbie dress for her to wear until I can sew something for her. Boy, have Barbie clothes changed in the past 30 years. I had a rough time finding something that I could actually stomach. Definitely need to make this girl some clothes.

I was surprised to find myself interested in Pullips at all. I’ve found dolls, in general, rather creepy since watching Poltergeist as a youngster. (I’d rather not relive that particular horror, so I’m not going into details here.) Cruising Flickr gave me the chance to see a world I’d never before imagined and I soon found myself daydreaming about owning a Pullip. It wasn’t long before I started looking at online stores and finally buying one.

Of course, it then took more than a year for me to break her out of her box. Why? I’m not totally sure. I wanted the time to devote to sewing for her and taking pictures, but never found a big enough chunk to let me do either. The day Miss L found my poor, boxed LRRH, she insisted I open her right then. Who can say no to a bossy three-year-old?

And now I’m thinking Maureen needs a friend, preferably someone with curly hair. Guess I’ve found another hobby.


Today has been a rest-and-recovery day for us. We needed it after two days of traveling and staying up late. Friday morning, we packed up the car and hit the road — Honey, me, Miss L and Ava — to spend the night in my cute husband’s hometown in Tennessee. Our favorite rocker aka my sister-in-law, had a show scheduled that night. Since she lives too far away for us to regularly see her, the fact that she was only 3.5 hours away meant a trip was in order. It also meant a little photo session was in order. Jenn and I have been talking about me taking some promotional photos for her since at least a year ago, but we haven’t been able to make it happen. This weekend provided the perfect opportunity, so I packed up pretty much everything I own in the photography department and hauled it with us. And I am so glad I did! Here are a few of my favorites:

Jenn and I are both crazy about this one:

(If you’re interested in seeing the rest — at least the 122 that are done so far — you can see them here.) I have to say, it was quite a change of pace to photograph grown ups. My usual subject is … less than cooperative at times. If you’re around three year olds at all, you’ll know what an understatement that can be. It was so amazing for me to say, “drop your chin a little” and actually have the subject comply. Plus Jenn was totally willing to try anything I asked of her. And it was just fun to hang out with her and chat, which we just don’t get to do that often.

The Great Tripod Hunt of 2008

Like my attempt at photographing the eclipse? I’ll give you a tip: it’s much easier if you put your camera on a tripod. Nighttime shooting requires sloooooow shutter speeds, to slow to hold with your hand.

And I know this. So why I thought I could just step onto my deck and snap away is beyond me. Probably the same reason why I didn’t think to look for my tripod until the eclipse was at its zenith. Nope, no idea where it is. I did, however, find my knee brace which was nowhere to be found on Saturday, when I needed it.

Gotta work on that spring cleaning.

I cranked up the ISO on my camera to 800 (I think; I’m too lazy to get off the couch and look) and dropped the shutter speed on the above photo to five seconds. In a perfect world, I would have used the tripod and done a shutter speed of a minute to see if I needed to go longer or shorter. Since that was not the case and camera movement would be inevitable, I opted to “drag” the moon across the picture. I focused on the moon on one side of the camera, depressed the shutter and slowly panned the camera across the sky. I did a few and think this was the best of the lot (and I don’t think that’s saying much).

Oh well. There’s always the next one.