Wednesday, June 30, 2010

5 Minute Craft

I've been making friends with a lot of photographers on Facebook lately. It's helpful for ideas on posing, locations, and angles. Anyway, earlier this week, one of them posted a link to an Etsy page. It was a "Lens Friend", and they wanted $15.99 each. Ouch... They were cute, though, and great for people who photograph kids.

I started to look at them, and realized that she's using a scrunchy for the base, and then stitching felt onto them for funny faces, and what not. Well, I can do that!

I thought it would be easy enough to find scrunchies at the dollar store. I was wrong. I wound up buying an 8 pack at Wally world for $5. More than I wanted to spend, but since I plan to make a few of these, I figured why not.

I have been told that regular size ones will not work with a lens hood, or some of the larger SLR lenses. But, they should work on regular lenses, and any digital camera that has a lens that sticks out. In other words, they won't work on pocket cameras where the lens disappears, they're too small.

You'll Need:

Buttons, Googly Eyes, or Gemstones
Hot Glue or Needle & Thread

Step 1- Pick your scrunchie, and have an animal in mind for it. I chose a green scrunchie and a frog.
Step 2- Cut eyes, arms, & legs from felt. If your animal has spots, add spots as well.
Step 3- Glue your eyes together. For mine, I also added gemstones to the center. I've seen them with googly eyes, too.
Step 4- I chose to glue mine together for the sake of time. I glued each piece on, and Viola! It was done.

I've seen some with featther fluffs added to the head for hair. I've even seen the Alien from Toy Story, with the three eyes.

Have fun with it, and if you take pictures often, make a couple up, so you can swap them out when the kids start getting crabby.

Also- I didn't realize how hard it would be to take a photo of it ON the camera, until I tried. I finally got a decent one- using my rear view mirror in my car, of all things!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fun with Spray Paint

Yesterday, after dropping off prints for a client, I stopped at a thrift store I rarely get a chance to go into. The store is run by a local group that supports Catholic schools. The items are hit and miss. I can find something totally amazing for almost nothing, or something all right for a fortune. I have almost never had luck with clothing there.

When I walked in yetsterday, I saw this fantastic set of three large cubes. I thought they would be great for a photography prop, but at $20 for the set of 3, it was out of my budget. Plus, they weren't blocks like I was hoping, but crates.

Because the 4th is next week, the entire set up dead center when you walk in was devoted to Americana items (the blocks were cream with red stars on them), and red, white, or blue items. Including a totally adorable, wooden child size chair in blue. It was scrapped up a bit, but I could hardly believe my eyes when I realized it was only $2.49!

I snatched it up, got a cart, and kept looking. I was further surprised to see that it wasn't the only one. There were 4 more peach chairs similar to it- all nice real wood, all child sized. They were all slightly different in height, and some had ladder backs, some had  just a single slat at the top of the back. My blue one, for instance, had a ladder back, but the slats were arched.

My aunt is also starting to do photography, so I called her, and asked if she wanted one, which she did. I actually ended up grabbing 4 all together, 2 for each of us. That way, we can have one in more girly colors, and one in either a neutral color, or a boyish color.

Last night, I set to sanding my two down. Only to find they were painted in LAYERS of latex paint. I mean like 4 or 5 layers. It was NOT sanding off even with my nifty electric sander. I finally gave up and decided that since kids will be sitting IN them, it's not a big deal if they are sanded out completely smooth.

I was anxious to get painting, so I headed off to Walmart to get some paint. I went with Krylon's glossy indoor/outdoor spray paint. I picked Blue Ocean Breeze for one chair, and Rich Plum for the other.

Best news? If I decide after a few shoots that I don't like the color, or want a new color, I can change it quite easily. I also plan to make two cute cushions for the top, one in zebra minky, and the other in green minky. I'll attach ties for the back, so they can be interchanged, or removed.

I used the Rich Plum color on the peach chair, and the Blue Ocean Breeze on the blue chair. I'm not sure if it was because the plum is darker, or because it's different than the peach, but it took almost a full can of paint to properly cover the peach chair, and only about half a can to cover the blue chair. In the picture below, you can still kind of see the peach, but I plan to go over it one last time tonight.

Tomorrow, I have a shoot with a family with young kids. Saturday, I have a shoot with a family that has 3 young girls. Sunday, I have a shoot with a 4 year old girl. I foresee lots of use from these in the near future!

Last week, I had found another cheap prop- a velvet-ish (not real velvet) covered small foot stool with a feather boa edge, and curved legs. It's gorgeous! But, it was broken. The bottom is pressboard, and had a hole in it, but the pressboard was still there, just not attached.

I fixed the pressboard, glued it back in, then had my dad cut a piece of plywood the right size, and attached that under the pressboard for stability.

I then sprayed the legs with Krylon's Satin black. I plan to sew a removeable slipcover for it, so it can be used for both boys or girls. I'm debating between a navy blue, or denim. I plan to get use from that stool this weekend, too!

I'm so excited by all the fun props I'm finding at Goodwill lately, and for very little money. Sure, I could order a child size chair from a prop house- to the tune of $50-100. No thanks! My $2.49 chairs will do quite nicely, thank you very much!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Day At The Beach with Alex

Last Monday, I spent the morning at the beach over on Lake Michigan with my sister and my niece Alex. Here are some of the shots we took. She turned 3 in April, and these are her 3 year old photos.

Long Week

Over the weekend, I had a car accident. Nothing huge, but enough to scare me silly, and crunch in part of the car. And, regardless of what everyone involved was saying (traffic came to a very sudden, dead stop), I got named at fault for it.

Being at fault comes with a $175 ticket.

To top that off, we found out today that we have no collision damage coverage on our insurance policy, so the damage? Not covered at all. It's $2100 worth of damage. The passenger door won't even open. So, no coverage, but damages that HAVE to be fixed. Obviously, there are damages that can remain as is, but the lights need to be fixed, and the door needs to be able to open. That part alone is going to cost us money we simply don't have.

As it is, savings is paying the ticket for me. The rest? No way. I'm absolutely livid about the whole thing.

No one was hurt. The other guy? His truck is an old beat up thing. His rear bumper got dented in. Nothing else.

Today I got an email from my husband's dad. Chris is with him for the summer, and has managed to break the frames of his glasses in half. How? No clue. There's more money out the window.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


This past Friday, when it was hot as can be, muggy as all get out, and just plain yucky, I did a quick 20 minute photo session with my daughter Gillian. One of my goals this year, is to pick up cute dance costumes and Halloween costumes in Fairy like design. I want to be able to offer costumes for Fairy sessions starting next year. To do that, though, I need a good array of sizes, colors, and wings.

This is  a CUTE dance dress I found at Goodwill for only $2. I have matching Red & Silver wings, but Gillian had a sun burn, and they were really bothering her back. I should have thought to maybe pin them to the costume instead of her wearing them over her shoulders, but alas, I didn't.

Anyway, here are a few of my favorites. In a few, you can really tell how annoyed she was with me- she was having a hard time with the heat, the humidity, and the desire to want anything to do with being there! ;)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Photo Contest- Please help vote?

 As many of you know, one of the reasons I have been CRAFT BLOG FAIL is because I am busy getting my photography business, Expressions by Heather, off the ground. One of the things I am doing to help get it off the ground, is holding a Children's Portrait Contest through Facebook.

The contestants are people who sent their children's photos in, in the hopes of winning a free portrait session with me (locally). What I would like, though, is more people voting! There are a lot of adorable little kiddos in the contest, but only a few of the parents are able to really "recruit" votes.

If you have a facebook account, and 5 or 10 minutes, check out the contest.

First, go to my business page: Expressions by Heather, and click "LIKE" at the top. Then, click ALBUMS, and go to the album entitled "Children's Portrait Contest".

From there, go through the photos, and comment the word VOTE on any of them you really like. All of the photos are snap shots provided by the parents, and there are so many little dolls in the contest. You can vote for as many kids as you like, but only 1 vote per child, please!

Voting runs through Sunday night at midnight, so please- take a moment to vote!

Ah... Summer

Summer officially started on a cold, dreary day last Friday, as school let out for 3 whole months. Chris was the first to come running home, followed shortly later by Raegan. Gilly didn't get out for just over an hour yet. Chris, though.. he's the excited one. He came tearing in the house, asking, "Is it time yet?"

Time for what? Time to leave his mom and dad for 2. Whole. Months. Yes, 2 months. My FIL recently relocated to Florida. He was in North Carolina previously, and moved to Florida to help with his mom, who lived down there on her own, though my FIL's brother lived next door. Grandma had gotten to the point where she needed more care than they could give, though, and was put in a home. Sadly, she fell about 2 months ago now, and slipped into a coma, and passed away.

But, back to my story. FIL Mike moved to Florida and took over his mothers home. In a pre-death agreement, Mike would get the house, but pay for half of a pre-determined value (which was MUCH lower than the actual market value, from what I understand) to his brother.

Now that my FIL is retired, he has been wanting to take Chris for a summer. He's all about boys- get him around the girls, and he just doesn't know what to do with them. We came to an agreement with him and Chris though. So long as Chris got nothing below a B all school year, he would take him for a few weeks over the summer to Florida.

Well, weeks turned into months. Chris left for Florida within an hour of school letting out, and aside from emails, phone calls, and digital pictures, I won't see him until August. -sigh-

I've been unable to talk to him, though, as I was gone photographing a wedding over the weekend. He called my phone yesterday while I was in a doctor's appointment, and when I called back, I got voice mail. He sounded excited in the voice mail he gave me, though.

He got all his hair cut off. It's gone! He went from having a head full of thick, slightly long blond hair, to a slightly longer than average buzz cut. Crazy kid!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Favorite Places On The Web

Yes, I'm still alive. School ends this week, and I've been BUSY BUSY BUSY being a photographer, so my crafts have slacked. Couple that with my FIL being an on again, off again guest over the past 2 weeks... well, you get the idea.

Even while I have not had the time, space, or energy to craft, I'm keeping up some of my favorite blogs still.

First up- My Dear Trash. MDT is run by two gloriously talented women who take 'trash', and turn it into cash by reselling items they either find on the curbside, are given, or buy at thrift stores, garage sales, and on Craigslist. Laura raises 4 boys and 1 teeny, tiny, little peanut of a girl, and earns her money in resale. Kelly is raising 6 girls, and also earns her money in resale. In fact, she just funded a vacation to Walt Disney World off her earnings over the past 16 weeks. How cool is that?

Next up, Mad In Crafts. MIC is run by Jess, who is another crafter from Michigan. I think we found each other shortly after we both started our blogs, and we have grown at the same time. It's been interesting watching each others blogs grow, and she has some cool craft ideas, along with a Mad Skillz Monday link party for tutorials. Check her out!