Friday, October 28, 2011

Shutterfly Christmas Cards


Alrighty, just checking in real quick to announce the Shutterfly Christmas Card giveaway winners.  I used, and these were the numbers picked:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

3 1 12

Timestamp: 2011-10-28 20:12:51 UTC

Looks like Miss Kelli {Random Thoughts of a SuperMom}, and Mimi {Living in France}, and also Shutterfly Adict {how appropriate, lol!}

Okay, ladies, I've just emailed you your codes.  Will you let me know that you got them? :)

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Busy, Busy

It's been a busy week.  Kind of strange when an entire week just passes you right by and you're not sure where it went.

We celebrated my nephew's 18th birthday.  Holy moly, how is it possible that he's 18??  Fun story:  I was actually in the room when my sister gave birth to her first baby.  I was 13 years old, and after watching my sister in hard labor for several hours, I'm quite sure I said something along the lines of, What a miracle!  However, I will never be having any biological children of my own.  Adoption for me, thanks!
Funny how things change ;)


My little sis, Annie, and her two kiddos came up to celebrate with us!  Kam and Mona are just 5 months apart.


Taylor actually let someone besides Mama hold her!  She was passed around and around, and didn't fuss much at all.  Major breakthrough!


And we even found time to carve pumpkins.


I may be kind of quiet for a bit.  Having a hard time with a few things right now, and really want {NEED} to just turn it all over to God, but am finding difficulty relinquishing my control.  Sigh.  Just really feeling He wants me to do this right now:

Be still and know that I am God . . .  Psalm 46:10

I'll definitely check in on Friday for the Shutterfly Cards Giveaway.  Go enter, if you haven't yet!

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Pics {Say that 5x fast!}

We made it to the Pumpkin Patch this week, and had such fun!  We seriously look forward to it all year long.

The swings and slides are a favorite.  I think the girls could've stayed there all day.



Then we moved on to the animals.  Oh these little piggies were so cute!


Kam loved the goats :)


See?  She normally keeps a safe distance from all animals ;)

And we picked out a few pumpkins.


And some apple cider.  Mmmmmmm, apple cider.  Our favorite!


And one of Tay, just to document that she came along ;)

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Time for Christmas Cards! {Giveaway!}

Can y'all believe it is nearing the end of October?  You know what that means.  After eating twenty five pounds of Halloween candy, it's on to Thanksgiving, and then . . . only a short while until . . . Christmas! It is definitely time to be thinking about Christmas cards.

I love Christmas cards.  I love designing and sending ours, and I love receiving them from others.  Last year I got to participate in Shutterfly's holiday promotion, and so enjoyed browsing all of their options for holiday greetings.

Shutterfly is a favorite of mine.  Not just for Christmas cards, though this will be our third year in a row using them.  They offer Calendars, Birth Announcements, and a large collection of other personalized gifts. Shutterfly offers gifts for just about everyone on your list.  I recently ordered a photo book from Shutterfly for someone on my Christmas list {not tellin' who, just in case they are reading}, and it turned out BEAUTIFULLY.  It was super easy to put together, and is going to make the perfect gift. 

I couldn't help but take a sneak peek at their selection of Christmas cards this year.  I love that there are so many options.  I like these because I can load 'em up with pictures of my girls:

The greatest thing?  Shutterfly asked me if I'd like to give away a set of 25 cards to THREE of you!!! Um, YEAH! Simply leave a comment telling me what your favorite style of card is.  Do you like room for lots of photos?  Classic colors?  Who do you send cards to?  Or, just leave me a comment saying "hi" ;)  I will randomly choose a winner sometime next Friday, October 28th.

{Disclosure:  For reviewing Shutterfly's holiday line of cards, I have been generously compensated with 50 free cards for myself, as well as coupon codes for three sets of 25 cards each to be given away to three of my readers.  All thoughts and opinions are genuinely my own.}

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Photo Tip Thursday

{Edited to include a teensy bit more Kelvin detail}

Okay, today I want to talk briefly about White Balance.  {The funny thing is, I had a whole long post typed up, and then it got WAY too wordy and confusing, and so not brief.  So here I am, REALLY trying to keep this short.}

Different lighting situations produce different temperatures and can result in color casts in your photos.  Have you ever noticed that if you take a picture inside, under artificial lighting, that your photo has an amber-ish quality to it?  A quick white balance adjustment, and these photos will improve tremendously.

I'm going to be honest. When I first started becoming passionate about photography, I didn't notice lighting and color all that much. I just didn't pay attention, I guess. Now, even when I don't have my camera in hand, I take notice of lighting and color casts.

 These days, digital cameras have many WB options to choose from:

White Fluorescent

I'll admit.  Sometimes I'll just set it to Auto.  If the girls are doing something cute, and I'm in a hurry, it works in a pinch.  It tries.  But it's not the best.  You're letting your camera guess, and that doesn't always give you great results.

Recently I've started using Kelvin, and I love it.  I feel like I have a lot more control this way.  Although, if I'm in constantly changing light, I find it to be a little time consuming.  If you have this option, give it a try, and let me know what you think of it.  {A little more info on Kelvin:  in the Kelvin mode you actually set the temperature you'd like to use.  So, at first, it's really kind of trial and error.  I think, in the photo below, I had my Kelvin set to around 3800 to cool down some of the amber color casts created by the artificial lighting.  For some, though, the photo might be a little too cool.  I prefer my images a little on the cooler side.  Can you use Kelvin outside?  Great question, Sarah Kate!  Absolutely!  You would then adjust the temperature according to the lighting outside.  For example, if I was outside on a cloudy day, and wanting to use Kelvin, I would probably set it somewhere around 5700 or 5800.  Not sure, exactly, as I still use trial and error a great deal.  But, you see, you are warming up the temperature to account for the cool casts due to the clouds.  Make sense?}

In Custom Mode you use a grey card to set your own custom white balance.  For some reason, I have not had great results with it.  I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but I obviously haven't mastered it.

Daylight, Shade, Cloudy.  These modes adjust the warmth according to the color casts you'll experience when you're outside in different lighting situations.  If it's overcast, for example, you can set the WB to Cloudy, and it will "warm up" your images a bit.

Tungsten & White Fluorescent.  You may try one of these when indoors and using artificial lighting.  I use the Tungsten one regularly, and it helps to reduce some of that amber color cast I tend to experience when shooting indoors.

So, there ya have it.  A little run-down on White Balance. And a few photos to help you see it a little better:


{Top left was taken in Auto, Top right was taken in Tungsten, and the bottom was taken in Kelvin}.
The differences are subtle, but I think you can see that the top two photos are warmer.  And for fun, I took the photo below in the Cloudy Mode.  Whew!  Look how orange that one is!  That's just bad.

Now, the challenge:  If you don't regularly adjust WB, try it!  Use Tungsten inside to see if it doesn't eliminate some of the amber.  Get out your grey card and set a Custom WB.  And if you do regularly adjust, try a new mode that you haven't yet used.  Then, come back here next week and we can link up a before and after.  Take a photo without doing a WB adjustment {if you don't normally}, and then one with an adjustment.  Or show me a photo taken using an adjustment you don't normally use.

Happy Snappin'!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordful Wednesday ~ Tea Party

For weeks Sierra had been asking about planning a tea party. 
So, we scheduled one for Saturday.

She made special invitations for Nana and Grandma.  Complete with a request that they wear "tea attire".

We baked Snickerdoodles and Blueberry Bread, and waited for our guests to arrive.

Grandma brought the hostess a beautiful bouquet.


Princess Stephanie {this is the only name Kam will answer to these days} sampled her first peppermint tea.  And I'm happy to say that she loved it.


And we enjoyed an afternoon of tea sipping, cookie eating, and lovely visiting.


In our fanciest tea party dresses ;)

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

♥ 4 Months ♥

Happy 4 Months, Sweet Baby Girl!

I cannot believe that you are 1/3 of a year old already :( 

Four months ago you came into the world so beautiful and tiny and perfect.

And even then, at that tiny little age, you knew exactly what you wanted and when you wanted it.  And you let us know when you weren't gettin' it ;)


Oh the preciousness of a new baby.  The scrunchy little face.  It's about more than I can handle.


And then you came home with us to be a part of our family.  Such a special day.


And you grew.

{ One month }

And grew some more.
{ Two Months }

And grew even more {stop doing that so fast, k?}
{ Three Months }

And here you are, FOUR months! 


At four months you are weighing about 16 pounds, according to my scale.  You're a good little sleeper, most of the time.  Most days we are on a three nap schedule.  You like a snooze a couple of hours after waking in the morning.  Then another after lunch {this is usually a longer one.  Sometimes up to three hours!}.  And sometimes a tiny little cat nap to get us through until bedtime.  Bedtime is typically between 8 and 9.  You and Kam go down at the same time.  About 60% of the time you wake 3 times in the middle of the night to eat, but are right back to sleep.  And the other 40% of the time you get up around 2am to chitty chat with your Mama for a couple hours.

You are growing like a weed!  3-6 month clothing is a thing of the past!  You are in 6-9 month clothing now.

You love to smile.  You are the smiliest baby I've ever known.  Happy.  Content.  You are truly a blessing to us.


Happy Four Months, Little Sweet Pea!
Love you so much!!
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin Fest!

Last week we ventured out to the Pumpkin Fest at Wooden Shoe.  Typically we head to Wooden Shoe in the spring to see the beautiful tulip fields.  But last year was the first ever Pumpkin Fest, and since we're suckers for all things pumpkin and autumny, we were totally there!

There were bales of hay for climbing.


And Gramps came along to keep us company.


Cow trains to ride. 
The same cow train I rode back in April when I was 7 months pregnant with Tay. 
The one that almost sent me into labor ;)


But the cow train is a highlight for the girls, so they hopped right on!


Where y'all goin'?  The Pumpkin Fest, of course!


And we even got a quick photo before the rain started falling :)

Next week it's the Pumpkin Patch! 
{If the weather man is right about the sunshine.  The last four days were supposed to have been dry, ahem.  And it's been sprinkling non-stop.}

So . . . have any of y'all been to the pumpkin patch yet?  Harvest festivals?  Apple pickin'?  I want to hear about it!

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Hair Clip How-To

We've been busily crafting hair clips the last couple of days.  Mostly during naps and after bedtime for the littles because Taylor needs all attention on her while she's awake ;)  It seems as though some of you think they are just as adorable as we do.  I've had inquiries regarding how to purchase some {thank you!  Most of the money is going straight toward the girls' dance costumes for their Christmas recital, but I've promised them that they can keep some of it to do with what they please.  We are planning on putting some in the Etsy shop, so if you are interested, let me know which designs, and we'll create a custom listing}.  And others have been curious as to how to make their own.  Well, we love to share, so here ya go.  A little mini tutorial for these little felt hair clippies.


First, we start with wool felt.  It holds up well, and looks beauty-ful.  You'll also need scissors, a snap clip, embroidery floss, needle, and any embellishments you choose.


Next, you'll want to cut the felt into the shape of the clip.  You'll need two pieces.  One for the top, one for the bottom, and you'll want the felt to be a tad bigger than the clip so that you can stitch around it.  Take one of the pieces {this will be the bottom}, and poke a little hole near the back of the felt so that you can slip the clip in. 


This is the under side.


Then you'll snap the clip closed on the felt, and proceed to the top portion.  Stitch your embellishment on the top piece.


Time to make a clip sandwich.  Take the top felt piece and position it on the clip that is snapped into the bottom portion.  Then stitch around using a blanket stitch {or any other stitch you wish.  I just like this particular stitch because it finishes it off so well}.


And voila!

I love making these clips because they don't take too much time, they're super adorable, make great gifts {truth be told, I wear them myself}, and you can put all of the supplies in a little tin and take it with you for craftiness on the go!

Enjoy :)

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