Monthly Archives: December 2011

Tile Photo Coasters

On almost all the photography websites and blogs I they follow tell you how important it is to display all the beautiful photos of your family that you take. It’s a great form of “backing up” those great photos too in case your hard drive gets fried. Hard copies never disappear into that cyber black hole!

I’ve seen many ideas for displaying photos around the home. I have a few already in place. I thought I’d share this particular one since it also makes a great gift!

Photo Coasters. From tiles! (I told you I’ve been spending a lot of time at Lowes lately)

Cute yeah? It’s soooo simple too. And incredibly inexpensive. We just start of with one of these 5 pack of tiles ($1.80 for the pack of 5)

I used a sponge applicator and Mod Podge for the project

I printed these photos on my printer at home on photo paper and trimmed them down to size. The tiles are 4.x4 inches. My Photos are 3.5×3.5. I applied Mod Podge to the tile, stuck the photo on and applied 3-4 layers of Mod Podge to seal it. I waited about 2-3 hours between coats

After the final coat of Mod Podge I sprayed them with a gloss sealant. Also 3-4 coats over several hours. After all the glueing and sealing was done, I applied adhesive felt pads to the 4 corners on the bottom

That’s it. You’re done. Simple little craft to display photos :)

And here they are being used on a dry run for setting out Santa’s milk on Christmas eve!

I’m really pleased with this simple little project! :)

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Tom & Jerry’s Christmas Tree

On a narrow steep neighborhood hill in San Francisco lives a giant Christmas Tree. Every year during the holiday season, its owners fill it with colorful sparkly lights and enormous hand-made baubles and toys. It’s quite the San Francisco holiday icon.

And (almost) every year, we bring the kids to come see it. The owners (Tom & Jerry) have had this tree since it was a potted house plant in 1970. Today it has grown over the roofs of even the houses around it.

The larger than life ornaments, decorations and toys are pretty darn amazing. I always feel 5 again when I come see it each year.

This year we made it out a tad early. The decorations on the tree were up but they were obviously not done with everything yet. Usually there are giant gifts wrapped in bows larger than our heads along with dozens of stuffed animals bigger than Grizz under the tree. So we got to play under the tree for the frist time. It was pretty cool!

We met up with some friends there. Don’t our kids look tiny under the huge sparkling ornaments?

The boys were more interested in defending the tree against the imaginary clones/thugs/droids/robbers attacking us from all sides. So I did not get many shots of them. Our girls were much more impressed with the gorgeous tree than they were

I’m thinking we’ll likely go back for one more photo op once all the decorations are up. It’s a pretty magical sight this tree on 21st Street!

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Beauty In A Cemetery

Meet my friend Leo. And his gorgeous happy family

Leo and I shoot on opposing teams in the APA pool league in San Francisco. His little mini-me is the same age as my Jack-Jack. Yes his wife and I were pregnant at the same time. So obviously we’ve become good friends. Over the weekend I got the opportunity to photograph this beautiful family. I mean, I’m talking piercing blue eyes and golden blonde curls kind of beautiful

This is only my second shoot where the subjects are not related to me. I was a little less stressed than my first time, but mostly because I know them and just adore them

I mean they’re kind of irresistable! There is so much love here, it was a joy to capture it all

They picked a quiet and (mostly) deserted cemetery by their house for the shoot.

I arrived just before the sun set along the hills and caught some beautiful light all around us.

The star of the outing of course was this little future heartbreaker

This precocious thing stole my heart the moment I pulled up in front of their house. Oh I have I got a little firecracker of a daughter for you young man! ;)

The session lasted a little over an hour that just flew by too quickly. We took a leisurely stroll back toward our car as our light slowly faded. Mini-Leo was happy and chatty all the way.

Thank you again for letting me photograph your beautiful family Leo and Ali! I had a blast!

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Faceless Friday

We’ve got another busy weekend coming up. I’ve decided that all weekends in December are extra crazy. So many holiday activities in only 3+ short weeks… Wish me luck.

On to my faceless stories…

Remember last Friday I decided to test my theory on whether Grizz reads my blog? Well, I knew he did. I just wanted him to bring me some flowers. And right on cue, he came home after work on Wednesday with these. <3

All 10 fingers and toes checked and approved

Our pediatrician has fancy flat screens in each exam room to keep little ones entertained while we we wait

My little tomboy and her trucks

Which one’s really the clone?

Guarding her tree

Twinkling sun setting in my wine glass

Shouldn’t this be the other way around?

Waterfalls in the city

She wants to play with the ornaments VERY BADLY

Our cards went out today. One more thing I can cross of my list. Yay!

Have a great weekend!

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Holiday Photo Session Exchange – Part 2!

After our session with Celeste, I got a chance to photograph her beautiful family. She selected the Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park. Boy was it beautiful there! Had she done her session first, I might have switched locations to the Tea Gardens too!

The colors and textures were just a touch of fall in our one-season city.Absolutely breathtaking.

Like I had said before, I was a little nervous about shooting her family since it was my first time, but the surroundings and her experience made my job a lot easier! She knew how to pose her family and I came up with some ideas on composition too

It was fun to experiment with a family other than my own

Of course having cute kids to photograph always puts me at ease :)

Her baby was about 7 months and totally adorable. I can’t believe my own Jack-Jack is no longer that little anymore. Time flies faster and faster these days

Thank you again Celeste for the opportunity to take some photos of your beautiful young family.

And welcome to the Bay Area!

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Mom’s Washer Necklace

I found this neat idea on one of the blogs I follow one day utilizing washers to make a stamped pendant. I adore unique ways of repurposing anything I can find in a hardware store. The new Lowes in SF is a 2 minute drive from our house and lately I’ve been there almost 2-3 times a week!

I took a trip to Michaels and picked up some supplies. I didn’t take a picture of the stamping set I bought there but it was $20 bucks and I used my 50% off coupon. That was the most expensive thing I bought. All the findings were about $2-$3 each.

Oh the pack of jewels were about $5 :)

On my way home I stopped at Lowes and ran in for a handful of washers in different sizes. I did end up going back a 2nd time once I knew which sizes worked for me.ย Follow her tutorial for a detailed list of what she used. I didn’t vary much from her instructions.

She also had a video on there on how to make a connector for your jewel embellishments which was useful

I decided I wanted to wear my children’s initials on the pendant. I practiced quite a bit on hammering the letters on the washers. It took me about 20 washers to get my technique right. Thank goodness they are cheap!
My first ring said MOM

Then I stamped their initials on the smaller one.ย The black marker definitely made them stand out more. I think I may try different colors to see what they look like next time.

I dabbed a little bit of Krazy glue to keep them form turning around and around once they were on the chain. Then I added two swarovski jewels for embelishment. One for each kid :)

I did end up re-stringing them on a different necklace to see how they’d look. I love both the thick and thin chains. The beauty of it all is that I can switch them out whenever I want :)

I’m thinking I may do something like their birthdays on the next one.

Or maybe a latitude and longitude of their birth place like this bracelet? So many cute ideas to try :)

And they make awesome handmade gifts for Christmas right around the corner… ;)

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Holiday Photo Session Exchange

A couple of weekends ago I had the opportunity to do a photo session swap with a mom photographer I met on the ClickinMoms forums. I’d never done anything like this before and jumped at the chance! I was definitely a little nervous about shooting her family since I’ve only ever shot mine. Luckily she did our session first so I was able to follow her lead on the workflow of the shoot.

We decided to go back to AT&T Park for our holiday photos again this year.

One of the main things I learned from being both in front and behind the camera during a family photo shoot is that it is NOT EASY to get everyone looking at you at the same time with a smile or at least not blinking or making a weird face!

It was a little different being in front of the camera with my family after constantly being the one taking all the pictures the past 6-8 months. I’m so grateful to have some nice ones of me and my kids

And even a few of just me and Grizz in nice outfits too! Usually the only ones of us together are with my iphone’s front facing camera or taken by Rex.

Even though I have lots of shots of Grizz and the kids, I adore these she caught of them

Jack-Jack was especially difficult to get to cooperate or sit still for more than a few seconds. In the end I brought out a cookie. There were lots of shots with her mouth stuffed but at least she stood in one place for at least 7-10 seconds!

The details of our swap were pretty simple. We agreed upon a location in SF (or close) for each family and a session length of about an hour. No edits were expected, just the transfer of all RAW files to the other. However we both edited the other’s session just for fun. These shots here were taken by Celeste Wyrick but edited by me. She is a family/portrait photographer that has just recently located to the Bay Area. You can find her post on our session with her edited versions here on her blog post. It’s pretty cool to see how differently someone else edits the same set of shots. I love her versions too!

It was a really fun experience for me. I’ll post some shots from the session I did with her family in a post later this week.

Thanks so much Celeste for the beautiful shots!

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Light Painting Our Christmas Tree

We got our tree! I have to admit, up until it we dragged it into the house and set it up I had been kinda dreading the holidays. That’s unusual for me since I’ve always loved Christmas time. It’s just that we had such a wonderful time at Grizz’s family’s last year, I had wanted to make it a tradition that we go back for the holidays every year. Well for several reasons, we couldn’t make it happen this year.

Once our tree was up though I felt completely different. Something about the smell of a fresh cut tree and the way it instantly changes the mood of our home snapped me right into the Christmas spirit. I started the carols and Grizz built a fire. Yes, now I remember why I love December! :)

We got our tree in typical city-fashion, at a tree lot that was a 2 minute drive from our house next to a liquor store and a police raid in progress behind the block. Gotta love city life.

I would have much preferred to drive to a tree farm, select our tree and have it cut down especially for us. Yeah, my kids were not going to deal with the trek there and back well. So city-prices it was

They had fun hunting our tree down in the small lot though. It was fun to see my youngest wander around, taking everything in for the first time.

Rex is a seasoned tree hunter. Jack-Jack however was a little overwhelmed and stayed close to her big brother

We found our tree pretty quick

It was a long line that moved fast to have our tree trunk cut so that was nice

Which by the way, my kids were just mesmerized by the chainsaw. Go figure.

We were out of there in under 20 minutes. I was impressed

I love that Rex can help (somewhat) with carrying the tree. He loves the responsibility of helping dad with the heavy lifting and maneuvering!

The boys load up and we are on our way. I think this is the most efficient tree-shopping we’ve ever done.

After dinner came the fun part. Lighting it! I’ve always loved a tree with just the lights before the ornaments go on. There is something so completely pure about a lit unadorned tree. ย Maybe it’s just me.

I wanted to try out some low light shooting I’d read in the ebook I bought last week so I set the camera on the tripod and let Rex man the remote while Grizz and I worked the lights. The kid LOVES the remote.

As you can tell, the Christmas lights being strung made for some really pretty painted lighting on a low shutter speed and ISO. I closed my aperture down to about f11 to create some twinkling on the still lights on the tree.

After the first quarter of the tree was done, we had to stop to put Jack-Jack to bed. Plus we were not getting much done with her wanting to “help”. I did a quick check on the shots already taken and decided to adjust the lighting in the room for the next set. I turned the lamp in the right corner off.

Much better yeah?

Grizz decided to have a little fun with it since he was pretty much holding the lights and feeding them to me the whole time

His attempt at giving himself a halo here… At least he’s keeping with the Christmas theme.

Here’s a painted Christmas tree. Pretty.

I believe he’s trying to give my butt a halo in this shot. Nice. There’s a little boy in even the oldest of men I swear.

We finish up and take our obligatory shot in front of the tree. Our family minus one. I’ll have to photoshop her in later ;)

Rex absolutely loves our lit tree. He is 5 and is at the golden age where he is old enough to help, understand and appreciate the traditions. Yet he is still young enough to believe in the magic of it all. He hugged us huge after we lit our finished tree and told us how happy he was that our tree is so beautiful.


We let him put the tree elf in before he went to bed. More decorating the next day

I’m really enjoying the holiday season now!

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Faceless Friday

It’s the first Friday in December. I’ve decided to bring back my weekly faceless posts this month. Grizz actually told me how much he enjoyed it and requested I bring it back. I was quite surprised since I always assume he doesn’t read my blog much…

Hmm… maybe we should test this theory. Babe, if you’re reading this, bring home a bunch of “our” flowers after work on… let’s see… next Wednesday 12/7. Ok I’ll let you guys know what happens then. Hehe…

On to my faceless shots…

Jack-Jack has grown even more interested in reading. She’ll sit in her room by herself either on the floor or in her rocking chair “reading” Her favorite ones are these elmo board books she got for her 1st birthday

Rex and I attended an art workshop at his school one evening. It was cool to learn some new creative approaches to art

Guess who just went up that ladder 3 seconds before this shot? Always gotta do what her big brother is doing

Spiced pumpkin muffins with cinnamon frosting in a jar I made for our hosts in Healdsburg

New friends

The aftermath at the oyster bar at Thanksgiving dinner

Pretty pretty leaves everywhere

Walking the endless rows of grape vines together.ย 

Then he decided she was slowing him down and took off!

One day you won’t be this far behind from him baby girl. Soon.

I did a family photo session for a fellow Clickin Mom last weekend. I’ll blog more about it next week

Her beautiful boy just about my Rex’s age. They would have gotten along fabulously!

Working the ipad whilst mama worked on the advent calendar

More holes to mend!

Our pool team finished 2nd this session and are headed to the playoffs next week. Yay!

Have a great weekend guys. See ya on the flip side.

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