Monday, January 30, 2012

Life Through My Lens: January

It took quiet a while for me to get my first digital camera and so I seem to struggle with some very basic elements of photography and so want to improve. I've scoured blogs, pestered photographer friends and taken literally thousands of photos and so now I can at least see why some of my poor shots fail....well mostly.

Here's some of my shots below. The first one I snapped on awhim after cleaning up my daughters "Princess Party" It's one I really like. Some of the others are from this fall. I think for the sunflowers "photo shoot" done in September. I took about 700 pictures, between lighting issues and some uncooperative kids, LOL. Then on an October trip to a farm with the kids I was able to do better with fewer'll see.
Have to start out positive, I was so happy this picture truly captured what I saw that day...truly a fluke, LOL
Ack what's up with the super exposed sky? Yuck.

This was kinda cool even if the sky didn't really look like that...LOL

Same sky, nice and blue...

The girls could barely see with all the sun but with only flowers behind, shots turned out better...

Much softer lighting and much better here...even though the same lighting environment.
And here, my girl K on a sunny October day...
And this one, nearly the same amount of light as the September pictures but much better result so back to studying...
This was a totally lucky shot using the flash in a little shed with sun behind my daughter...

Three of my biggest problems are:
  1. Always forgetting to take the lens cap off before attempting to take the first shot...seriously who does this? I have seen "image too dark" soooo any times from my camera and missed sooo many shots this way it's  ridiculous.
  2. Lighting
  3. Lighting

Yes Lighting is twice. I have so much trouble in the very dark and in super sunlight.

 Even though I've got a good feel for what my mistakes are as I browse my photos. Lighting in the extremes has truly evaded my grasp. Achieving the amount of Bokeh I want (love that) as well as my composition seems to be improving at least.. I am hoping for an epiphany (or a decent tutorial or class) that leads me down the path to enlightenment...oh, couldn't resist. ;) 

 So, just curious, what are your top three struggles as you take your photos?

Thanks for stopping by...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome Love

I sized these at about 7inches tall and they ended up almost 2 inches thick.
The tradition of Valentines Day is one of my favorites. It's fun to support my little ones as they trade cards and treats with their classmates and friends. But even more, after New Year's tradition of self examination, it is refreshing to just look outside ourselves and welcome love into our lives!

The solid paper is all Bazzill basics and the print is the DCWV baby girl stack.
It was my goal last year to put up a banner for each holiday or season but since you haven't seen them here you can probably guess that it didn't happen....So, when the idea pepped up to create these 3D letters for Valentines day, I wanted to figure a way to make it into a banner. This super satin ribbon from was left over from my little princesses party and it was wide enough to support LOVE. :)

It was actually quite easy to put together these letters but I suggest some quiet so that you can think through them before you glue it all down.  Say for instance don't do these while trying to help with homework since yours might end up like my E which has the paper "technically" inside out. LOL.

I actually have only one tip for the construction of the letters. I used my long clear ruler when gluing the side portions of the "O" together. It doesn't have score marks on the flaps where it's glued so in order to be sure they weren't getting wonky, I  laid my ruler down with a few of the flaps turned up. This made it easier for the next piece to line up without going crooked.

The SVG files for this project all came from the website and they do a spectacular job with their files, and also customer support by including great instructional videos right on the site.

"Be Mine" was from the 24Valentines collection, and the bird was and extra from the Bunny House Treat Box set. B wanted a bird on it. Finally I made the "rosebud" from part of the file for roses included in the "crush on you" set. It was designed to be a fuller style rose but I was wanting just a bud so just used on portion of the file...I managed to scrounge the leaves from the 3D flowers collection and finished it off with some plain white ribbon. The banner could probably be embellished even, more but I just wanted to keep it simple. And get it done. :)

I hope you all welcome love into your lives this year and have a wonderful Valentines Day!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chinese New Year Craft-Spin Drums

It has  taken me awhile to warm up to 2012, even though it has some really cool things going for it. I mean seriously, it it the last time in my lifetime I will be able to enjoy a date like 1/1/1, 2/2/2, and so on. This year is gonna be 12/12/12 at the end of the year and well, it's a bit sad we won't see 1/1/1 until January 1, 2101! That's 89 years folks and I hope my DD's get to see it.

I was glad to see it's not too late to celebrate the New year! The Chinese New Year on January 23 that is. So I have a project....Chinese Spin Drums! I made these with my Brownie Girl Scouts, and will make a few more for home too since the are so much fun. I'll show you how to make yours and also share the cutting files below. I found the idea on and adapted it to make it fit my needs. The one below has a dragon cut from the Chinese New Year SVG set from
The dragon cut so well on my Zing, despite the tiny bits due to being about 2.5 inches tall Great file!

OK so here is how I made the spin drums!

 You'll need the 6 cut pieces from the file: two large circles for the ends of the drum, the center band, the two end decorations(mine have Chinese dragons downloaded from the internet and printed on) and the little "pizza table" style cut piece shown in white here...Also about 14 inches of yarn, a Japanese style round chopstick, two beads, a piece of ribbon. And glue!
I drew in the score lines here to show where the "pizza table" goes and what the different holes are for
 First fold the funny pizza table looking thing so that it stands up a bit and has tabs at the end. Place a glue dot in the center of the square created with the score marks on the red piece of paper. Then glue the tabs of the table onto either side of the square, but don't push the "table" down...instead let it sit above the red paper.
 Place a glue dot in the center of the square. Then glue the tabs of the table onto either side of the square, but don't push the "table" down...instead let it sit above the red paper.
Overlap the ends of the long strip glueing it down and be sure to get the holes lined up and the edges flush.
 This is where the chopstick goes into the drum. Be sure to put the flat edge in first.
 The chopstick should be snug within the hole and then go through the pizza table too. Place your hand on top of your drum and push the chopstick firmly onto the glue dot.
 The tie the yarn or string right to the middle of the chopstick so that there are equal amounts on either side.
 After threading the yarn through the side holes make sure the "drum" portion is well rounded by adjusting it a bit and then tie a knot to help it keep it's shape. Do this on both sides and make it snug. This is important to help keep the whole thing form getting loose as it spins too.
 Fold the flaps of the long strip in a bit and put glue on the tabs.This shows the yarn tied and also the tabs gently folded in. This view looks through the inside of the drum and the glue goes on the outside of the tabs so turn i over to apply the glue evenly.
Be sure your glue is all the way to the edges of all the flaps for it to be secure. Place the large circle on the end and fiddle till your happy with the fit. It wont be perfect but it should be even.

 Once the end piece is a set a bit, turn the whole thing over and use a pen or something to press the tabs down.
 Mark the place for the bead with a pen by bringing it up and measuring(eyeballing) where it meets the center of the drum. Then tie a bead on each end where the mark is.

 Decorate the smaller circle with a fun drawing or print out and enjoy!
  It works best if you hold it between your hands with your palms flat and rub them like you are trying to warm up...My little one had fun demonstrating! :)
Here are files: Just for reference the largest circle should measure 3inches.
For SCAL just import the SVG...if you do not own an electronic die cutting machine, the PDF can be printed and cut by hand. Then use a hole punch where required.

add this to your Pintrest Board...
Pin It

Paperclip display stand for paper crafts

A quick post showing how to make the "stands " used to display my finger puppets....

I was looking for the best way to support the projects I made since it was too hard to get my model to cooperate and daylight was fading fast. It seems to me there was a better design out there for a paperclip card display. I've seen one posted on the Cricut message boards oh so long ago, but things get lost, even good ideas. So after a futile search though the internet I decided to try my hand at creating something new. A few mangled paperclips later I came up with something that works a bit...not sure how "blogworthy" but hope it helps someone.

The back clip is the end result...

Pull the back piece until it is about 45degrees

Then pull the smaller section up and back a bit without bending the "bottom" and pull the folded piece out a bit.
You can see it tilts back a bit. The bottom of my finger puppet tucked behind the bottom "bar" then rested on the bent piece.
I also tucked a card into this holder but need to make some adjustments

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Little Red Riding Hood Finger Puppets!

As a first project with my new Zing cutter I decided to dive right in. I never do just dip my toe in.  

 The whole set is available at Lettering Delights as a "cut it set" you can print and cut as well as layer the papers as an SVG cut. And layer I did! These are pretty easy to put together but I wanted to be sure they would be durable, so this is where the Zing comes in. I was able to put all the different pieces organized by color and then also a last layer for chipboard...yes the Zing cuts chipboard and gives this set some very much needed support to endure all the play it gets already. The Make the cut software has been really easy to learn and use. As for the adjustments on the Zing, there's been quite a bit of  operator error. ;)
 This is the house sized at nearly 12 inches tall! I used the backs of my paper stacks as the most readily and conveniently sized "chipboard". Sometime crafty comes from (dare I say it?) lazy. LOL. I looked at the cereal boxes I had been saving for the purpose and just didn't want to mess with them.

The house was a bit difficult to emboss with my Big Shot and cuttlebug folders but after a bit of mangling it ended up OK. I even wet the paper and used the folder with a brayer to get the "brick" texture up further on the blue siding. Every thing was inked and embellished since I wanted this to be special.
these layered very nicely together and went quickly...
 Little red riding hood is my B's favorite of course and I altered her eye color to blue..

 Here is the Mom with shiny black hair and snazzy stamped trim on her apron. All the eyes were cut into the face layer but then colored over with a glaze pen. The mouths were just drawn on with a red glaze pen. Cheeks are chalked and the hair stamped over all with glitter ink using the mini G stamp pads in various colors from my stash.
 Grandma meets up with the wolf in her oh so cute shawl...can you see the embossing? It is tough since I was only allowed a very short time right before bed for my photo shoot. Bad lighting and an eager little girl who kept running off with the characters were not ideal conditions.
 Here is the wolf in all the Grandma's clothes, hee hee. You can really see his teeth here. His tail has already suffered some damage, since he has quite large role in the play after all. These were cut at an average height of just under 6 inches, and I can't imagine them going much smaller. My DH's fingers just fit into the wolf although he isn't allowed to "be" him when we split up the parts each night. He has to play the woodcutter. The woodcutter by the way has an odd monocle which I left it off since I didn't think he would really wear one...cute mustache though don't you think?
And luckily the results were a hit even if there were quite a few mistakes along the way. I'll add more info on my Zing (a list of "don'ts" frankly) and also my idea for the paperclip stands that I used for the photos here...

Thanks for stopping by and adding your thoughts....

Blogaholic Designs”=