Friday, December 9, 2011

Our Entryway

I wanted to share with you what we did for the section of wall between the door and the stairs. I had this portrait that we had taken last year by Rachel Clare made into a canvas from Costco.
 I was very impressed with the quality of the canvas and how it turned out. Of course, it also helps to start out with a great picture! I wanted to incorporate the same color that I painted the kitchen wall so I painted this 4'x5' rectangle on the wall and then my wonderful husband added white trim around the edges. Very easy and it adds so much to this wall where as just the canvas would have looked plain and small on this big wall.

Overall, I am really happy with it and I'm thinking of doing something fun here for the holidays but we'll see if I get around to that this year! I have more plans for the area to the right of this, a mudroom! I am desperate for a place for the kids' shoes (I include my husband in this!) plus jackets, backpacks and all of that other stuff. But I have to take it one project at a time right?
Right now we are actually in Lake Tahoe with some great friends so hopefully next week I will have some pictures to share from our trip!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Class Pictures

 I was blessed with the opportunity to come in to the boys' preschool class and take school pictures. We turned it into a fundraiser for the class and overall it went very well considering I had 23 kids to shoot!
 Of course, the two kids that gave me problems were my own, but I think that is because they are so tired of me taking their picture all the time! Zachary was pretty good although that face in the picture above is pretty funny!
 These are the kinds of pictures that Gabriel was giving me...
 A face only a mother could love, right?
 Zachary was pretty cute although then he started laughing and I got...
 this one and...
 this one, the little funny boy!
 I do love this face though, classic Zach complete with sweater that he continually tells me has a rumbus on it, they are learning a lot in preschool!
I had each kid start off with a picture of them holding this chalkboard sign that we wrote their name on with the year. It is not only great for the parents to have the child's name and the year on it but then it also helped me when editing and copying the pictures to know who was who! I just got to do the other preschool class' pictures so maybe my friend will let me share a few of her son when I get them edited!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I'm BACK!!!

Okay, so I know that I have been MIA for a long time now. I have had several really tough months and the thought of opening up my heart on here has been too much to handle. But I am ready to celebrate the holidays and then start the new year fresh, but more on that another day! For now, let's just pretend like I was never gone... ok? 
Ever since I took that online Photography Class by Maggie Holmes my photography skills have improved so much and I have now officially gone professional! It's a scary thought for me but when I am behind a camera I feel at home and there is something about watching people through a lens that makes my heart sing. So let me share with you some of the photos that I have taken over the last six months and kind of fill you in on what has been happening in our lives...

 This is once again that gorgeous couple that I have had the opportunity to shoot several times. We have this plan to take photos every 3 months for their first year but November got too crazy for everyone... boo! I still want to take some and just pretend that it is November.
 We shot these out in Barstow at the Harvey House. This building has beautiful architecture and was a lot of fun to wander around and find new places to shoot.
 Sometimes you don't even need to see faces to feel the emotion, and that is something that I love to capture!
 As we walked down this little walkway I saw this arrow painted on the pillar and instantly had the idea for this picture, it is so perfect!
Next we jump to Halloween and my adorable children, I know I'm biased, but they are pretty cute!

 Zachary was Bumblebee from Transformers and they were obsessed with their costumes for weeks wanting to wear them, I have learned my lesson, next year I will not buy them so early because they don't understand.
 I love this one of them walking away holding hands. It is not very often that I get to capture the connection between these two. Usually the only connection that I see is one on top of the other while they wrestle.
 And here is my Optimus Prime. Every year I find it funny that Gabriel picks the lead character and Zachary always picks the sidekick or secondary character, when in real life normally Zachary is the dominant one.
 Kaley was Hermione and she loved having the robe and tie which came in handy when the final movie came out on Blu ray and we were able to dress up to watch it.
 Madison was my beautiful Cleopatra and I had so much fun doing her hair and makeup for this.
We went to the pumpkin patch with the playgroup that I have been taking the boys to  and we had a great time.  I took each of the kids over to the pumpkin field and shot some pictures of them. They were surprisingly very cooperative.
Kaley was pretty cute as usual.
Madison picked out the perfect shirt since it matched the tree almost exactly!

And my Gabriel always has so much personality!
Madison turned 9 in October and Kaley turned 7 in November. I have never really done a big birthday party for them and their friends so this year we decided to do one big party for both of them since they share quite a few friends. I will share more on the party another day, but I these are the photos that I took and printed to sit on the mantle above where they sat to open presents.
Well, I guess for now that is it although I have so much more to share, I promise that I won't be gone for long!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Keep Moving Forward

Let me first start off this post by saying that I'm not sure that I can make it through creating this post, the tears might just make it near impossible to type, next let me explain that my husband is a Youth Pastor. He has been for over 10 years now and he knows that there is nothing else that he could be doing with his life that could make him happier. I have always helped him when I can and my level of involvement has gone up and down with the craziness of our life. We have gotten to know students really well over the years and have had the opportunity to watch them grow from awkward, immature junior highers to adults graduating from college and starting families. We feel blessed to have had even a small part in their lives.

With that said let me tell you the part that sucks about youth ministry. It is an ever changing life and this is the time of year that things really start to change. We have a new group of seventh graders coming in and it is always funny to watch them squirm the first time that they are expected to sit for a Sunday morning youth service. There is a new group of High School freshman coming in which means a few new students in small groups and their first time at our summer conference (it's always fun to see their reaction to the summer conference that we go to because they never expect the magnitude of impact that it can have, this also creates a different group dynamic every year), and there are High School seniors that we get to celebrate all that they have accomplished and help prepare them for what is to come. And every few years I find a couple of students that I really spend time with and become close to and this is when it gets difficult for us.

This may be the hardest year yet... you may have seen me post pictures of these two before but here is a recap of the last year. I was blessed to be asked by Gabrielle Palayes to shoot her senior pictures, here is one of my favorites...
She is an absolute sweetheart and one of those girls that you can't help but want to hang out with. We had a blast the day that we went out and shot these pictures and I only wish that I knew all of the photography skills that I know now back then!

And then a couple of months ago they asked me to do a best friend's graduating shoot which just happened to coincide with my photography class so they got to be my guinea pigs for an afternoon.
This turned out to be one of our favorites and what you can't tell is that one is wearing an Edward shirt and the other is wearing a Jacob shirt!

Clarissa also asked me to take pictures of her and her boyfriend for their Senior Prom. We went into her beautiful backyard and took some sweet pictures of them.
These two are so adorable together that it makes you sick! lol Clarissa is so gorgeous inside and out it's no wonder she was a princess.

And now these two, that have been best friends since they were kids, have both graduated from High School in the past week. Here is one of my favorite photos that we got...
This picture just says so much about how far they have come together and I know that they will go so far in life and always have each other to lean on. They also know that they will always have me! They have also declared that I am their lifetime photographer (name the time and place and I will be there!).

This is where my heart is torn: one half is so proud of them for all that they have done, who they have become, and excited to see what more they can do in life; and the other half is sad that they will no longer be here on Thursday nights for small group, CIY just won't be the same without them, and the youth room will seem a little less bright without their smiling faces there. Just keep typing, just keep typing... This is our job in ministry, to help these kids navigate jr. high and high school while building a relationship with Jesus and each other so that they can go into the world and make a difference. And I have been so blessed to have been a part of these two girls' lives for the last couple of years, and I know that they are not going far, but now the relationship shifts. No longer are they students and I am one of their youth leaders, now they will be members of the church and I am a friend that is here whenever they need me (thank you Lord for facebook and texting!), and hopefully I will get to still sing on the praise band with them once in a while! This is when we have to keep moving forward, appreciating the past and the moments that we have shared, relying on the grace of God in the present, and trusting in Him for all that the future will hold and the new relationships that will occur.
I love you girls so much! Congratulations on graduating and surviving High School, may God Bless you in all that you do and thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me be a part of your life. He could not have given me two more incredible people to help heal me and give me the confidence to once again do what God intended us for.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Including the Art

As a mom I am really bad about keeping all of the little "treasures" that my daughters make me. I do have a box that the girls know to put all of their school stuff in that fills their backpacks and twice a school year I go through it and pick out a selection of artwork and schoolwork that is a good representation of what and how they are doing in school. I then put that stuff into a file folder labeled with the grade in my filing cabinet. At the end of the year I go back through the folder and see if I can take anything out. I would love to start incorporating more of that stuff into the girls' albums but baby steps!

I have recently kept a small box in my scraproom that is for all of the little notes and cards and drawings that the girls make me, and I finally had a chance to sit down and scrap some of the ones from Madison.
I used the SEI Corrine line and I really love the cheeriness of it. I used a slightly older random picture of Madison that I had in my box that just didn't have a place so it was perfect for this. And I think that the crocheted hat adds to the artist flair!
Madison will write me an "I'm sorry" note when she gets in trouble. I love this sweet side of her that is crushed when she knows that she has disappointed us. I have saved this one in particular and that little square drawing is so cute. At her old school, her teacher asked the class to draw a picture representing their favorite day of the week. Madison drew a picture of herself playing football because Sundays are football days (at least for the good part of the year!) We are big Cowboys fans here so football days are very important!
I used this super cute trim at the bottom of the page to give it some color and texture. The top of the journaling I made with an EK Success border punch that looks like notebook paper ripped out.
Here is the inside of the anniversary card that she made us last year. It is so cute and detailed!
This is the cool part about the We R Memory Keepers 3 ring albums. I was able to take a regular 8 1/2 x 11 page protector and place some of Madison's larger artwork right into her album next to the page that I did. I don't need a second album and I didn't have to find a way to incorporate these larger pieces into a 12x12 page! Here is the other side...
This is the flag that Madison created for the kids' "camp-out" in the living room. The scrapbook page is right there behind it.
For right now this is Madison's album, you can find this one here although I have this one coming to me tomorrow in Strawberry to be her next album. I either order from Amazon and use my swagbucks or I order from Ritz these are the two best places to get these albums at great prices.

I am hoping to create several more layouts to fit into this album and maybe even be able to fit up to this next birthday but I'm not quite sure yet so I already have the back up album for her in the brighter color. They didn't have that Strawberry a couple of years ago when I bought this pink.
Each album comes with 10 regular 12x12 page protectors in it and one of these divided 4x6 ones. I am planning to put any extra photos of her that didn't get scrapped into these pockets so that they are all together. At the bottom right there you can see that they also have a variety of configurations of divided protectors. I bought the assortment pack but haven't really played with them yet, I will be this summer though!

Thanks for looking at my daughter's album and hopefully it has inspired you to keep and use some of your kids' artwork in your albums!

Friday, June 3, 2011

One Sketch, Four Ways Part 4

Here is the last installment of my One Sketch, Four Ways week. I'm thinking that by now I don't have to show you the sketch again, (if you do need to see it then scroll down!) This really has been a great way for me to get four Halloween layouts done super quickly so that I can move on and continue to get caught up... I'm about to edit December! Lol My last layout is of my sweet oldest daughter who in my opinion made the perfect Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.
For this layout I flipped the sketch all different ways to fit the pictures that I had but you can still tell that the basic components are there. I love how the title came out with the different letters. And I definitely used the circles again...
Since Madison was Dorothy, and I used the word rainbow in my title, I grabbed a non-Halloween embellishment that went perfectly and ended up tying in quite nicely...
The rainbow is from Sassafrass and the pumpkin is from AC. I also used some more of those little shapes that I cut out from the AC paper and put rubons on them from Scenic Route to show the date.

All in all, I think that these layouts came out pretty well and you won't even be able to tell that they all came from the same sketch because they all go into different albums! I love it! Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

One Sketch Four Ways Part 3

I'm back again with another layout that I did using this sketch from Creating Keepsakes October 2010 issue...
For this layout I took the basic components and flipped them upside down. It was about this time that I ran out of white cardstock so I had to step outside my comfort zone and used black as my base. I guess that because my photos have always been so dark that I tend to rely on white cardstock to brighten them up. Like how I matted these photos in white. Now I won't have to worry so much about that since I know how to get bright, perfectly exposed photos from my camera and now I can start using more color! Yay!
I used this striped AC paper to bring lots of color to the pages and I also used two of the AC journaling cards, the blue one and the base for the Halloween Night rub on. I cut part of it off so that it looks like it runs off the page here...

And then I used the rest of it on the other page here...
and put the date there. I cut more circles out and scattered those around along with more of those hand cut little shapes. I love the AC buttons that match perfectly and had to add some of those for dimension. Glue dots work great for this.

One more layout to go! I am also working on something (well my husband is working on something for me) that I think will change the way that you approach big scrapping projects! Can't wait to share it!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

One Sketch Four Ways Part 2

Here is part two of the series where I show you how I took one sketch and created four different layouts to get things done faster! This is the layout that I did for Gabriel (a.k.a. Batman), you can see that I took this sketch...
and I flipped it backwards! And using different papers plus not matting the outside, it looks very different from the first one. And this is what I love about sketches, if you find one that you like... re use it!

I used mostly all the Boo! collection from American Crafts although I did try to really use up the rub ons from Scenic Route that I picked up last year. The orange decorative border is from American Crafts and I like it a lot but I had to really glue it down to get it to stop lifting off the paper. The journaling spot is also from AC and I love these things! This time I did incorporate the circles from the sketch, sometimes I just love circles!
One of my most favorite tools is my Sizzix Big Shot and the Tim Holtz die that I used here. I use this thing on everything from pages to cards to gifts! It is just so versatile and can be used on thicker materials too. I also tried to use up some old embellishments that I had in my Halloween box like this Happy Halloween title from MAMBI...
I love to mat one photo to make it the center of attention and this one of Gabriel as Batman is priceless to me.
Hope you enjoyed once again! Come back tomorrow for Part 3!