Archives for the month of: January, 2012

What with Facebook and Pinterest, I am bombarded with newborn photography and I am constantly inspired to try my own hand at photographing my kids.  Well, make that my kid.  Ryder makes a really hard to capture subject.  When he isn’t ants-in-the-pants, he is squinting from the anticipated flash firing.  His eyes are almost always closed or half closed.

So, Willow gets the brunt of my hobby photographer practice sessions.  Here are my tips for gathering some awesome shots of your little one.

1) Natural lighting is crucial.  Lighting sets the mood, the feeling.  While your child is napping, set up your area in a sunny spot where the sun is pouring in.

2) When your child awakes from a nap refreshed, be ready to change his/her clothing and snap some shots.  The first few are usually the best.

3) Rugs and blankets make the best backdrop for babies before they can sit up.  Fleece blankets work great on carpet floors because they grip on and make a nice flat surface.  Also try pillows and bean bags under blankets to create a softer look.
4) Mom makes the best photographer because she shows all the best ways to get those little full face grins and giggles!


The time has come to seriously consider redecorating my son’s room.  He’s 2.5 and the baby room he is currently inhabiting is really just not cutting it anymore.  He is still in a crib with a cute baby quilt hanging over it.  It’s time to consider a big boy room.

I came across this really great tutorial on making a Pirates of the Caribbean poster.  Unfortunately, I only have a photo of his sister in the pirate hat…


New favorite technique!  This is so cool.  You need to be pretty moderately Pshop skilled in order to pull this off but I think this how to tutorial is fantastic and you can apply so many cool effects to your art.

Start with a photo of your kids with a nice light background and remove or lighten anything that is not part of the main image.  Then, create your own brushes (something I have never done) out of their names, initials and birthday to “paint” in the image.  SUPER COOL!

DSC_0218.JPGEver since I started nursing my second baby, I have been CRAVING soda day and night.  DH has been lovely about buying me special drinks but it’s an expensive option.  I can’t stand the taste of artificial sweeteners either, yuck!  So, I started making my own soda.  It’s super easy – just mix 2 tablespoons frozen fruit juice from concentrate (no sugar added, 100% juice) with sparkling mineral water.  YUM!

I think the Expedit from IKEA turned on its side and placed under the breakfast bar provides a great, spacious amount of toy storage in our play room!


I have SO many photos of my kids and my life that by the end of the year I feel totally overwhelmed with them.  There are some really great photos and lots and lots of just OK photos – but those are our memories of our little ones.  This year we welcomed our little girl into the family so the majority of 2011 was all about pregnancy and then her birth and newborn months.

Here’s a great way to create a visual representation of the year with a Photo Collage – and if you are decent at PShop, it should just take a few minutes to create.

Start in Picasa.  If you don’t have Picasa already, I urge you to use it.  It is a great way to organize your photos, edit them and keep an online selection of them in albums.  Google offers free storage that lasts a long time and has several partner sites which make it easy to print the photos after you upload them to your online web albums.

collage.jpgStep 1: Create a collage in Picasa.  I went through the year’s photos and selected the ones that stood out to me.  I put them in the tray and pinned them.  After I was done, Picasa’s collage tool did the rest.  I selected a grid format.  I don’t like the way some of the photos go horizontal or vertical so I went in and changed some of those.  Lost interest (and ran out of nap time) but you get the idea.

Open your collage file in PShop.
numbers.jpgCreate a new layer and make your bold numbers.  I chose Impact but get create and try out a lot of fonts.

Control click the numbers layer to select just the number area.  Go back to your collage layer and select the inverse.  Then, delete.  Now you just have the collage in the shape of the numbers.


Now, I like the numbers against a black background but play around with it.  One thing that I didn’t like was the way that a lot of my photos were cropped out when they were between the numbers.  Another font or squishing the numbers closer would solve that but try different effects.

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This is not an easy project but if you know your way around Photoshop and Illustrator, it’s a cinch.  We use this technique of creating scalable vectors in Illustrator and then pulling them into Photoshop a lot.  It’s a great way to make use of the small, unusable graphics you find online.
step1.jpgAny profile photograph will do but in a perfect world, place your kidlet in front of a light colored wall.  A solid colored background will make this a little easier to do.
step2.jpgPrepare your images by cropping them and then desaturate them in Photoshop.  Give them a tint so that the background will be a different hue from the blackened silhouette in the next steps.
step3.jpgPrint your images out on a piece of paper.  Ink jets work better than laser printers because the ink is absorbed into the paper and you have a more porous surface to write on for the next step.
step4.jpgUse a black marker to draw in your silhouette shape.  Really, don’t over think it.  Just trace the outline with a thinner marker and then use a thicker marker to color it in.  Make sure the entire shape is really black.  You can really see where I missed some spots in these photos – I had to go over them again.
step5.jpgScan the images back into Photoshop.
step6.jpgHere comes the tricky part.  If you selected a nice, solid, light background for your images, you won’t have to do much but if not, you want to use the the brightness and contrast adjustment to lighten your image and then add contrast between the blackened silhouette and the background.  Keep doing this until you can only see the silhouette in black. Use a hard black brush to fill in any light areas you missed.
step7.jpgSelect just the blackened silhouette and inverse your select and delete the background.  You now have just the silhouettes. 
step8.jpgDrag your image into Illustrator and use the LIVE TRACE function.  Adjust the sliders until you are happy with the shape.  Then, expand it and ungroup it so you can remove just the black silhouettes.
step9.jpgCreate a new Photoshop document which will be for your final artwork.  Make it 300dpi at least and the size you want your final print to be.  If you plan on matting the image, make sure you print the final artwork smaller to allow for the mat.
step10.jpgNow drag your vectorized silhouette shapes into Photoshop, size them and rasterize the layer.  You can now make the shape any color you like – or leave it black against a white background.  Making it white against a colorful background gives it a fresh and modern feel, me thinks.  Add your child’s name in a funky font.  Print it, and frame it.  You’re all done!

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Let’s face it – there just isn’t enough gay and lesbian wedding accessories available on the market today.  When lesbian couples are looking to make a statement with their cake and feature a cake topper that symbolizes their love, they might have a hard time finding a commercially available option.

Enter custom wedding cake toppers by yours truly.  We can create a fully custom wedding cake topper just for the couple that looks just like them and include their clothing, faces, hairstyles and accessories.  Check out some of the great lesbian wedding cake toppers we have created for past clients.


Guess who had the honor of making a custom sculpted wedding cake topper for none other than Shania Twain and her new handsome hubby?  US!  Shania and Fred were married in 2011 and when it came time to wow his new bride with a custom gift, Fred selected to make this adorable and funny wedding cake topper.