Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Photographing Serenity


I love taking pictures of my baby! I know I have tons, but I'm a late Mommy so now it's my turn to share pictures of my beautiful sweetheart!

I can't deny it's also cause I can practice my photography too. Not only is it fun to dress Serenity in all her cute and funky dresses and outfits, it's also a way to showcase my work to people who might want pictures of their sweeties!

I'm always trying to learn how to do better too. But for the most part I'm self-taught. Even though it's been a dream/goal of mine, I've never actually taken a photography class before last week.

After seeing Julie's (from ZozoBugBaby - don't you just LOVE her clothes?!) photography improved by leaps and bounds this Summer, I wanted to learn how she learned so much in such a small amount of time!

So taking her advice, I recently took two classes from MCP Actions to learn how to really make my pictures POP - like Julie's!

I took the "Learn to Use Curves" class first and the following week took "Color Fixing" workshops.

Now when I look at all the pictures I've
ever taken I see a TON of color problems, because not only can I recognize the problems - I can fix them!!

I want to go back and correct every picture I have!!

Of course I need a lot more practice, but I learned so much.

Taking a live class like that is so helpful, much more than reading a book or watching video tutorials online. Don't get me wrong, both video and books are great and have of course helped me enormously, but knowing that I have an extremely knowledgeable person like Jodi
right there (so to speak) ready to answer any questions I have about something she's showing me, well that goes a long way helping me to step up my game!

If you're thinking about taking an online workshop -

Don't hesitate!

I would recommend Jodi from MCP Actions because she made everything so understandable - no high tech terms that I would be scratching my head trying to figure what in the world they meant. It was very easy to take everything she taught me in class and apply that to my own pictures later.

Okay how do y'all like Serenity's outfit?
Funky, huh?!
Like flashback to the 70's! I love it!! Let me tell you a little bit about it.

Courtneycourtney created Serenity's up-cycled pants. These are some of her very first bell bottom ones (she created a different style last year). I hope more bell bottoms are on the way!

Wren Willow created Serenity's lovely 100% organic shirt. It's been hand-dyed and then silk-screened using Marla's own unique illustrations.

BTW: Keep a sharp eye out for some of courtneycourtney latest creations - Wren Willow's beautiful designs have been spotted on sleeves and more!

Serenity's wonderful vintage jacket (look at that cool blue stitching!) and red and white umbrella barrettes are from 3 Ring Circus. Be sure to check that store daily - Heather is always posting beautiful vintage clothes and even toys! You can be sure anything you buy from her will be in excellent condition!

Have fun!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Party Favors: Dinosaur Crayons

I was so excited to find the cutest silicone dinosaur mold at!
It's made from 100% food grade silicone, microwavable, and heat resistant up to 446°F.

It's actually for making chocolates, but I think it's perfect for making dinosaur crayons!

It arrived last week, and I finally got the chance to try it out tonight.

I followed the same formula I did in my DIY Crayon tutorial.

I broke up the crayons and filled the tray.
This tray smaller than the number 4 tray I used in my tutorial, so it only took about 1 crayon, cut into little pieces, to fill up each cavity.

Then I stuck the tray in the oven at 200°.
I took the tray out after the crayons were all melted - it took 25 minutes.

I put the tray into the freezer for 40 minutes - it takes about 1 hour or more for the crayons to harden if you leave the tray on the counter.
Next I carefully turned the tray inside-out and popped the crayons out.

Very cute and lots of details.
I think they will be a big hit at Serenity's birthday party!

Have fun!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wheatgrass Critter Head - Sarah the Frog

Kim over at Grow With Me Gifts has put together the little wheatgrass critter kits that your child will love!

Recently Kim had a fun contest on her blog to name the critter heads.
The frog is Sarah and the pig is Penny - how cute!

Serenity is adamant that hers is Prince Naveen though, how funny she thinks the frog is a boy and not a girl!

Also, Kim followed my "How To Make A Tiny Fairy" tutorial to create her own adorable Fairy Catcher necklaces in her Etsy store!

She has the sweetest collection of fairies to choose from too.

Here's a picture I took of Serenity with my iPhone wearing her Fairy necklace from GWMG.
Serenity calls her Zoe and loves bringing her places with us!

Below are some pictures of Serenity assembling her froggy grass critter.

All done!

The kit is wonderful for small children since they can put it together all by themselves and that will help boost their confidence too!

Click on over to Grow With Me Gifts on Etsy to order your critter head today!

Don't forget to share your child's progress on GWMG FB Fan page!

Have fun!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

DIY Crayons (4th Birthday Party Favors)

Materials Needed:
Crayons (new or used)
Razor blade or X-Acto knife
Silicone or metal baking tray

Preheat your oven to 200

Peel the labels off all the crayons.

Break the crayons into pieces.

Arrange them in a baking tray.
I used a number "4" silicone tray.


Put in the tray in the oven for 25 minutes.

Allow the crayons to cool for about a hour.
I stuck mine in the ice box to cool 'em off faster!


If you used a silicone tray, try turning it inside-out (be careful!) before popping the crayons off.

All done!

I made these for Serenity's upcoming 4th birthday party!

POST-IT-NOTE: This formula worked perfectly for me, but ovens vary so you might need to tweak it a bit.

BTW, the crayons I used for this project are the crayons I bought last year for only 25¢ a box!

POST-IT-NOTE 2: For those of you looking for inexpensive silicone trays to make crayons, here's a pretty pink heart tray for only $6.95 & FREE shipping!

Check out other silicone molds on Ebay by clicking HERE.

Have fun!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

DIY Dinosaur Activity Books

My sweet little girly girl wants a dinosaur themed birthday party.
It all started last year when we stopped at the bakery to order a castle cake for her 3rd birthday.
She saw the most amazing dinosaur cake and wanted it.


I reminded her that we were here to get the castle cake.
She thought about it for a couple of minutes then said,

"Okay, but next year I want the dinosaur cake!"

The girl wasn't even 3 yet!

So for the next 10 months, at least once a month, she brought up her dinosaur birthday party!

Talk about tenacious!


She's always loved dinosaurs though so I'm not really too surprised she wants a dino birthday party.

With her party coming up in about a month, I've been hunting around trying to figure out what kind of inexpensive party favors I can put together this year.

I decided to include little dinosaur activity books I made as part of the party favors.

Materials needed:
Dinosaur Activity Book
Mod Podge
Paint brush
PowerPoint or Openoffice Impress
4 sheets of 8 1/2" x 14" paper per book


1. I found a dinosaur activity book with perforated pages for ages 3-6 (like Teachers use in their classrooms) on Amazon.
2. Then I scanned and saved all the pages.
3. I opened PowerPoint, changed my paper size to 8 1/2" x 14", and then re-sized each picture (7.5"H x 6.42"W) so they would fit side-by-side.
4. I put together a total of 8 pages, including the cover page.
I made sure to save each page so I'd have them for future projects.
5. Next I printed each page on both sides of a 8 1/2" x 14" sheet of paper.
6. After I printed enough pages to create 6 books, I folded each sheet in half.


7. Using the paint brush, I applied Mod Podge down the center crease of each page, and then glued all four pages together.
8. Make sure to let the glue dry before folding the entire book in half.

All done!


Totally kid-approved!
Serenity had fun completing the test activity book before she went to bed.
She told me that she wants to do another book tomorrow.
I guess that means she likes it!

Stay tuned for more DIY dinosaur themed birthday party favors!

Have fun!!

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