All is NOT as it seams…

2013-01-26_8797_vignetteWhere do you think this image was photographed? A remote, exotic location? A busy park with thousands of daily visitors? A bustling location in San Diego? Any guesses? Read on to find out…

There was a specific line in the course description for the Environmental Portraiture class I’m taking right now that completely spoke to me. It reads something like “we’ll focus on fictional storytelling and/or reality-based portraiture” – so we’ll be using real backgrounds to tell the real story, as well as creating a scenario with our images to tell the story we want? SOLD! Continue reading

List, Meals and Some Lovin’

Once in a blue moonIt really is amazing what a month long challenge can do for you. Some people cleanse, some will work to develop new habits, some people diet, some people swear off shopping, some won’t drink or smoke, some will exercise religiously. Me? I commit to letting my creativity flourish with layout a day (LOAD)!

Many of you will be reading this from Continue reading

Life Changer

There are certain things in life that are definitely life changers… meeting and falling in love with your soulmate, holding your baby in your arms for the first time, discovering a hidden talent, following a dream, traveling abroad – especially alone! And for me, participating in my first layout a day (LOAD) challenge, February of 2012. “Life changer” you ask? Yes, truly a life changer!

But before I can explain how scrapbooking could possibly be a life changer, I have to give you some background…

I attended my first crop in 2008 with my cousin Irene. For non-scrapbookers, a crop is group of people who gather to work on their scrapbooks, oohing and aahing over each others photos and pages. After just a few hours at my first crop, I was head over heals and loved the possibility of scrapbooking my daughter’s life! I did afterall have a mountain of photos to work with. So for the next couple of years I would dream of making gorgeous pages and decided the best way to get there was to buy oodles and oodles of tools and supplies. Cardstock. Patterned paper. Stickers. Flowers. Brads. Scissors. More stickers. Eyelets. Alphas. Stamps. Ink pads. More flowers. More alphas. More stickers. I didn’t create another page for almost 2 years! Instead of a scrapbooker, I became a collector.

In 2010 I finally started using those products, attending crops every other month or so, creating a page or two or if I was really on a roll maybe even three pages! Fast forward another couple of years, and I have one birthday book for each of my daughters, with pages documenting each years birthday celebration. So, where’s the life changer? Ok, good, you’re still reading…

Over my years of “collecting” and dabbling in scrapbooking, I had been listening to the Paperclipping Roundtable podcast and learned about Lain Ehmann’s Layout a day. A month long challenge creating a layout a day? That sounded impossible! I had never scrapbooked at home, and when I did scrapbook at crops, it took me hours (2, 3, 4 hours) to create a single page. How could I possibly do this for a whole month? I decided I’d give it a try and figure it out. I signed up for LOAD212 (February 2012) and it was ah-ma-zing!

In the span of 29 days, I created 32 pages – go ahead, check ’em out! Just be sure to come back to finish reading! Most of these are pages I love and am thrilled to have created. The daily prompts made me think of photos and stories I wouldn’t of considered scrapbooking on my own – the crush I had on my twin uncles when I was a little girl, how much I miss my grandfather, the story behind my daughter’s middle name, and on and on. Suddenly, it was as if a secret vault opened up in my head and I wanted to share, share, share!

Through this whole process, my artistic style evolved, as did my writing. I went farther away from who, what, when, where, and went into deeper, more meaningful journaling, almost love letters to my daughters. More daily life stories are being told, clearly more pages are being made, and in the long run, my daughters will have photos and handwritten journaling sharing my experiences with them. Ultimately, participating in LOAD has changed the way I approach scrapbooking all together. My collection of stuff started getting used. Some of it saw lots of action (Slice electronic cutter, Tim Holtz Distress Stains) and some of it not very much (stickers, alphas, brads). But through LOAD, I became a better artist, designer, writer, photographer. And now I’m venturing out and teaching my first class at Cool Scrapbook Stuff this Saturday, January 26th. Come join me – there’s still room in the class!

So don’t get me wrong, it still takes me a chunk of time to complete a page, but the outcome is totally worth it. Yeah, I might miss out on some TV during February, and I might miss a little sleep, but the books I’m creating for my girls, and eventually for future generations, totally makes it worth it. The girls know that during LOAD, I am in the zone! They come in my craft space in the morning to see what mommy created overnight. It’s almost as if I’m one of Santa’s elves working on a gift overnight! The sweetest sound is hearing them ooh and aah over the page, asking me to read it to them. Sometimes they’ll even ask for their scrapbook to be part of their bedtime stories. It’s gotta be pretty amazing as 3- and 6-year olds to have books written about you…  what kid wouldn’t like that?! And sometimes there competitiveness comes out when one (or both) say they want a page made just about them, “no one else in the pictures, just ME!” – gotta love their confidence and enthusiasm!

If you’ve ever considered joining LOAD, you’ve just gotta DO IT! Not to sound like an infomercial, but there really are only a few spots Trust me, it’ll change the way you create. Not just sticking photos on pretty paper, but it’ll change how you capture moments, how you document your life, how you share stories for future generations to enjoy. We’ll be blog hopping tomorrow (Friday), talking about LOAD even more, with lots of tips from LOAD veterans and even some newbies sharing their thoughts too, so make sure you come back and hop along with us!

Thanks for stopping by and have a joyful, creative, blessing filled day! Happy crafting!

Have Lesson, Will Travel


I can’t imagine going a day without learning, without exploring, without growing. I had the great pleasure of learning to photograph silhouettes this weekend from a fantastic local photographer, Erika Thornes. Her style is very relaxed, it’s as though she’s a fly on the wall, just capturing beautiful moments between the family members she’s photographing.

I first saw her images on a friend’s Facebook page – Erika photographed the gorgeous family of five at the beach. Right then and there I knew I wanted to learn from her. I emailed her inquiring if she’d be open to have me tag along to watch and learn from her, and she was quite lovely in her willingness to share her knowledge and experiences. We tried to connect in the fall, but with uncooperative tides, hectic schedules and the holidays abound, our meeting would have to wait until the new year.

As luck would have it, Erika contacted me on a whim on Sunday as she was heading to the beach in the afternoon. Her friend Jason (also a photographer) and his family were coming to San Diego from Arizona; he too wanted to learn from Erika. The weather was warm, tides cooperative and schedule open – yay for me!

So, with Erika’s experience and willingness to teach, off we went to Del Mar. I finally captured some silhouettes! I’ve attempted silhouettes before, but would quickly give up when I couldn’t figure it out. I love these images and I hope Jason, Cat and Rowan do too! It was fantastic shooting side-by-side with Erika. Literally, tummies down on the sand, cameras in hand, working with the sunset, horizon line, waves and bodies, capturing lovely moments in time. I can’t wait to do more of these… with my daughters and hubby, with family, with friends, with clients!




And just as we had packed up our gear and were heading off the sand, we came across two surfers, who were willing to take a couple minutes to let us photograph them as well. They were amazing! Can you believe this handstand on the sand?! I have a hard enough time just walking on the sand! Simply, amazing!




I still have a lot to learn about silhouettes, but this whole experience reminds me how much I love to learn and share. I guess it’s also validating the decision to start this blog and share with the world! I hope my crafting, creativity, and organizing tips, and especially my “Photo Fridays” series in which I share photography tips, helps and inspires you, the same way Erika was able to help and inspire me!

Thanks for stopping by and have a joyful, creative, blessing filled day! Happy crafting!

PS. I hope my experience encourages you to reach out to someone you’d like to learn more from… We can all be a tad shy about putting ourselves out there, but our world is full of gifted teachers in need of eager students to share with!

Photographing Food at Home {Photo Fridays}

Although I’m not a food photographer, or food stylist, I l-o-v-e photographing food at home! It’s such a great way to help document life. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way and am excited to share with you!


Sleepy Sunday Banana French Toast – a weekend family favorite!
1/25, f/2.8, ISO 100, 38mm, photographed in cool morning light

#1. Get close! Take a bite!
The best way it was ever explained to me was: “you want to feel you can take a bite out of the food in the photo!” So get close. Not so close you can no longer tell what the food is, but close enough you feel you can smell it through your screen! I love sharing this tip in person, because you can literally see the light bulb going on when sharing this tidbit : )

#2. Use Natural Light
Find the best natural light in your house and use it. My kitchen gets a lot of cool indirect light in the mornings, but warm and sometimes harsh direct light in the afternoons. Knowing your light helps you get gorgeous photos. If your living room gets the best light, then clear off an end table or pick up an easily portable table at a garage sale and use it for staging. Using a built in camera flash to photograph food is sometimes a necessity, but you really lose texture. It might take a little forethought, but find the natural light!

#3. Take Notes
Next time you’re thumbing through a magazine, or searching for a recipe on or walking past Williams-Sonoma, notice the photos that make your mouth water. Take mental (or actual) notes of the photo(s). What was the main focus? What colors were in the photo? How much of the food was in the photo? What angle or direction was the food photographed? And use these notes to try to emulate that photo. That’s inspiration staring you in the face!

And I have to mention that one of the other reasons I love to photograph our food at home it that it’s a great way to build a family recipe book! Something I hope to make one day to pass on to my daughters : )

Oh, I almost forgot… I wanted to share the recipe!

Sleepy Sunday Banana French Toast

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 8 slices cinnamon raisin bread
  • powdered sugar to taste

Preheat griddle to medium heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and mashed banana. Set aside.

Prepare hot griddle with a thin layer of butter.

Dip each slice of bread, one at a time, into mixture. Coat completely but do not soak bread – don’t make it soggy! Place immediately onto prepared griddle. Cook on each side until golden brown, about 4 – 5 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining slices. The banana and sugar carmelize to provide a fabulous sweetness, and when cooked just right, really you don’t even need syrup! Serve with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, a side of fruit and enjoy immediately!

Thanks for stopping by and have a joyful, creative, blessing filled day! Happy crafting!

Photo Fridays – upcoming weekly series!

I recently came across a forum discussion at about cameras people have had over the years. It was a fun discussion and really made me realize how long I’ve loved photography! I got my first camera when I was about eleven or twelve years old. It was a Kodak Disc Camera, waaaaay back in the early 80’s. Remember that camera?

Photo courtesy of D. Meyer via Wikipedia

Now that I look at it, size wise, it really was the predecessor to today’s point and shoot cameras!

I’ve loved taking photos as long as I can remember. It was always a hobby. Photographing family and friends, landscapes, objects, wildlife, flowers, everything and anything. Learning about photography was mostly through magazines, ads, marketing collateral, and of course, my favorites – Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn catalogs! I took a B&W developing class in the late ’90’s and loved the darkroom process. Over the years new cameras came and went – broke, lost, stolen, replaced – clearly for a myriad of reasons and ultimately, I received my first DSLR as a “Push Gift”

What exactly is a push gift? Yeah, we can all thank my very good friend Jennifer P. for that one! Our first borns are just 9 months apart, so as my tummy was growing, so was her newborn. One day we were chatting and I was suddenly blinded by some amazing, flashing sparkles coming from her ears. Yes, her hubby bought her the biggest, blingiest, most perfect diamond earrings I had laid my eyes on in person : ) That’s when I learned of the beauty of a push gift! And thus, when I explained the good fortune of a push gift to my hubby, I pointed out that a DSLR would probably cost less and get more use than the bling : ) I say my wish for a nice, big camera came true – he says he got swindled!

But my first few photos with my new Canon Rebel XTi were not what I thought they’d be. Blurry. Dark. Grainy. I realized I had the tool, I had the eye, but I was clearly lacking the technical knowledge. So I took my first photography class to learn to use my DSLR at SDSU Extended Studies. It was a great class and over three weeks I learned how to shoot in manual mode. Ever since then I’ve devoured every bit of knowledge I could find and taken every photography course I could find in the San Diego area! I’m currently finishing my Certification in Photography through UCSD Extension. It’s been a great program, with excellent instructors, fabulous classes, learning tons and developing my own style.

With that said, I am launching a series called “Photo Fridays” in which I will share bits of my knowledge with you! Look for those every Friday (starting tomorrow!), or better yet “Follow” me so you receive an email and don’t miss any future posts! And if there are any specific photo questions you have, please leave me a comment and who knows, maybe the answer will appear as a featured Photo Fridays post!

Thanks for reading and have a joyous, creative day! Happy crafting!