Friday, July 29, 2011

Boy Gifts - DIY (Bow) Tie Applique

At last! I finally saw my friend so I could give her boys (4 and 1) their birthday gifts. Which was in April (bad mama stuart)! I broke a sweat frantically wrapping these gifts with a curious 17 month old girl pulling two feet of tape out at a time, trying to find my scissors and stepping on my wrapping paper. Not to mention trying to get these pictures...sheesh!
Have I mentioned how I ♥ when things fit in perfect sized boxes?

I know, I know. I’ve been on an appliqué kick lately (as seen here and here for the tutorial). But it’s hard not to get hooked on easy projects! When I bought the fabrics and told Doug my idea, as usual, he didn’t “see” it and thought the prints were girly. And as usual, when I was done and showed off him my project, he liked it J
The boys would look pretty darn adorable with these and little blazers, no?

Mia was so excited to have a friend over. And I’m glad I could hang out with my godson to get to know him and his budding personality. I love his crinkly nosed wide grin smile! Which I didn't get a picture of L Mia sneakily sniffed him out. And they showed each other their bellies. Daddy is already very crazy protective of his little girl saying things like “No boys allowed in your room!” *sigh* oh dear.
Thanks for coming over guys! It was fun! J

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Photography Tip: Distracting Backgrounds

I'm continually learning and am no expert by any means. But some recent pictures I took stand out and naturally demonstrate a basic photography tip for you:
Be aware of what’s in the background of your frame and minimize the distractions. 
This is just one of the many things to think about when you’re trying to capture a moment….while getting all the other technical photography things right at the same time. *sigh* Here are some examples of distracting backgrounds, starting with the most extreme…{Let's ignore all the other things that are technically imperfect and focus on the backgrounds please. Thanks J}

Agatha proudly showing off her masterpiece! Or this lady’s booty?!
Should...wait for the distraction to pass or move subject.

Mia playing in the water at the park – fun! Big dude scratching his armpit – not so much.
Should’ve…walked around to face subject more, and big dude would’ve been out of my shot. But instead, I had to crop him out in post processing. Which kind of brings me to my next point...

I find this happens a lot when trying to get down at a toddler’s level – crotches! Unattractive!
Should…get closer (“crop tighter”), move around so only the subject is in the frame, and/or change the orientation.

Mia and I enjoying an afternoon down by the lake *aaah* Along with those sweaty shirtless guys! *ewww*

Should’ve…Since Doug was trying (or just got lucky) to capture Mia's smile, he couldn't have waited for the distractions to pass. But he could've came closer to crop tighter. I didn't take the picture, so I had to fix it afterwards. Don't get into this habit though! Get it right in the camera!

Mia hanging out at Ravinia….along with someone’s butt.
Should…wait for the distraction to pass and move closer to subject to crop tighter.

This is more subtle but still bugs me…that remote is taking away from my precious sleeping nephew.
Should...remove the distraction. Easy enough when your subject is sleeping hehe. 

So what do you think? Weren't those distractions taking away from the photograph? Will you be more aware of what’s in the background of your photos now? I bet you will J

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Introducing {Baby Jenelle}

For months now, I’ve had a photo shoot penciled in to take pictures of my friend’s baby. Come 7/17, weighing in at 7lbs 7oz, the lucky little lady, Jenelle, arrived! Oh my sevens! She even has seven letters in her first and middle names!
Big Sister Maya and Dad weren’t home, but it was nice to have *quiet* time with Baby Jenelle and Mom.
We were laughing about how sh*tty (literally) that would be if Jenelle decided to poop while I was trying to get this shot. 
Me (and my camera) were safe though, phew!

*sigh* I remember when Mia used to have the same milk drunk/passed out from a full belly face too. Love it!  
Mom and I have been friends since we were three years old. And here we are 25 years (exactly!) later…taking pictures of her second child! I can’t wait to see how life changes with her two girls!

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Monday, July 25, 2011

BYOB Painting and Big Star

I can’t remember how I came across, but they offer “fun, affordable and unique classes” in Chicago. Other cities are in the works, based on your feedback. Classes are $20 and completely random like cupcake decorating, intro to martial arts, urban composting, Photoshop, brew your own beer, how to speak confidently, preparing for your first dog and the randomness goes on…

I chose to drink and paint at Arts n Spirits in Bucktown. You bring the booze and they provide the supplies where an instructor guides you on how to create the featured painting. BYOB + Arts and Crafts is my kinda night! J It also turns out that one of the owners is my brother in law’s friend! Chicago is such a small city sometimes! I love how he and his business partner (the painter/instructor) opened this place as a creative outlet aside from their 9-5pm "cubicle" jobs.

Street parking was easy and isn't pay box-ed. Supplies (brushes, canvas, easel, aprons, bottle openers, cups) are provided....
Different paintings are featured on different days...
The instructor gives you step by step instructions and no experience/skills are required. Here's how my creation evolved...
And Agatha's...
For someone who says she doens't like matchy matchy - her painting, outfit and tattoo sure do look alike...
It was fun and something different to do. Now that we've taken a Wooden Spoon cooking class and painting, what's next?!

Big Star in Wicker Park has been on my list of places to try and it was just a long walk down the street. Being 10pm on a Wednesday night, we figured it wouldn’t be busy. Turns out there was still a waiting list for the huge patio area. Even though we could SEE empty tables. Instead of waiting, we ordered from the walkup window and ate at a picnic type table. The only difference between the walkup area and the patio is that you can’t have booze. Agatha had some horchata instead.
I ordered one fish taco and one pork belly taco. It’s very rare where I’ll pass up pork belly on a menu. The tacos were delish! It was dark out and the menu isn't online, so I can't tell you exactly what was in them. mMmMM I love good tacos in corn tortillas. And my order came with a random chicken lollipop? By the time we were done, we still saw the SAME EMPTY tables in the patio area. Psssh bogus! Can you imagine what it's like on a weekend?! Regardless, we still enjoyed our meal outside on an 85 degree summer night. I wanted to try Miko's Italian Ice on the way back, but it was already closed L   
I feel like summer is quickly flying by and you have to take advantage of every al fresco opportunity you get!

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Friday, July 22, 2011

As Seen on {Craftaholics Anonymous} - DIY T-Shirt Applique Tutorial

The first post I remember reading from Linda at Craftaholics Anonymous was “You know you’re a craftaholic when…” Seriously. hilarious. Ok, maybe it's only funny if you’re a crafty DIYer who frequents Michael’s/Joann’s/Hobby Lobby/The Dollar Store more than the grocery store, always has a 40% off coupon in her wallet, saves every piece of scrap paper/fabric/ribbon/cardboard/soup can to use for something (even though we don’t know what yet), has way too many “I’m SO going to make that” ideas on her To-Do list than there is time in a day…yeah, you get the point...

Anyway, I showed Linda the flower headbands I made for Baby Erin and was SO thrilled when she asked me to guest post over at her blog. Hop on over to Craftaholics Anonymous to get my tutorial for a Chicago/Illinois state silhouette appliqué t-shirt I made for a boy's birthday gift. And a matching onesie for his sibling in momma's belly J 
I love how the colors in the onesie match our flag. I got the shot of Navy Pier while aboard the Odyssey.
Elliott had his birthday party at Michael's with a Chicago style lunch (hot dogs mMMmM). How could I say no!? Mia had the most fun at the finger painting station. It was her first encounter with paints and she mostly used a popsicle stick and spoon as paintbrushes haha. She worked quietly for a good amount of time focusing on her artwork. That's my girl!
Thanks for having us Jocelyn! And this weekend I'll be photographing my friend's newborn baby girl! Stay tuned!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

BYOP (Pillowcases)

I just got an email from Chris who’s back from his honeymoon in Bora Bora. Don't know where that is? Me neither...Google Maps tells me its a tiny little French Polynesian island in between Australia and South America. Chris wanted to let me know that Ashlee brought my pillowcases along on their trip!
I totally didn’t expect that and it made my day J
Why not cozy your head up on your own pillowcase when you’re on a heavenly island like this…
Where they probably stayed in one of these little huts...
mmhmm they did...
So they could take in these heavenly sunsets...
From the comforts of their room private hut
huuugh....If only they brought me along instead L  Thanks for making us all wish were on a secluded island jerks!
Great pictures Chris!