Sunday, February 28, 2010

Project 365 - Day 59. Cookies, Cookies, Cookies

Because I still have little ones running around, I rarely get to volunteer at the kids' schools.  I do my best...I donate stuff, do projects at home, that sort of thing, but usually nothing too major.  So when Lilly joined Daisy Scouts this year I decided that being Cookie Mom was probably right up my alley.  I've heard horror stories of the amount of work it required so I was a bit nervous but I also worked at being ultra-organized along the way to ensure I was always on top of things.  This weekend was cookie pick up and sorting and each job took less than an hour.  Whoo Hoo.

I currently have a garage full of cookies waiting to be picked up tomorrow and then just one more week till money is collected and my job is done.   At least until next year....

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Project 365 - Day 58. Green Eggs & Ham

Our area hosts a Children's Theater Series each year and my kids love it.  The shows are kind of hit or miss in quality but it doesn't seem to phase them so we always go.  Today was Green Eggs & Ham.  I am a HUGE Dr. Suess fan so was prepared for big disappointment but it was really good!  Definitely the best show I've been to as part of their for the kids and me!   I took all four so it was a relief that I wasn't gritting my teeth through the whole thing!  

Isn't their set fun??  Perfect Dr. Suess!   Love it!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Project 365 - day 57. A Treasured Gift | Delafield Children's Photography

Last night I had a wonderful visit from a couple I met last month.   Sadly, I met them as part of my Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep volunteer work.  They were the first couple that I'd photographed on my own, although they didn't know that until last night.  They came by to bring me a thank you gift for the work I did for them.  It was so thoughtful of them to think of me as they're going through such a difficult time and it was such a precious gift and something I will treasure forever.

Literally just a few nights ago I was looking at a stand in my bedroom that has two Willow Tree pieces on it and thinking...I really need a third one of those.  I received the ones I have on two separate occasions from my sister-in-law.  So, I thought I need another because you're really supposed to have things like that grouped in threes, right?   Well, wouldn't you know, that's what they brought me.  It's just beautiful and they said they chose it because it's called "Spirit of Giving - Generosity is your shining gift."   They also gave me a card with one of the images I took on it and wrote the following:

"There are no words that come close to describing how thankful we are and how blessed we feel to have met you.  Your selfless efforts and amazing talents have touched not only R. and I, but everyone who sees your photography.  Thank you for volunteering your time to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and for preserving our precious son with such love and care.     Love, K. & R."

Needless to say, I cried.

This sweet couple gave me two gifts.  The opportunity to meet their Angel and now this.  I'm truly touched.  And all three of us are anxiously awaiting our next photo session - when they are expecting their next baby!!  

Fix-It Friday...#45

It's Fix-It Friday again!

Today's photo has a gorgeous sky and I love the angle (I shoot a lot in angles)!  Unfortunately, the little girl is very shaded (darn sun!).   Again, I didn't peek at any of the other submissions but I did try to provide what the photographer was looking as she stated below:

"My daughter is standing in our front garden - I was laying down. It was a beautiful day, but her face was in full shade & looks a bit blurry. She looks too dull against the blue sky. I'd like to be able to pull the whole thing up and make her pop out without losing the beauty of that blue sky." 

Here is the original:

And here is my edit:

To get this, I worked exclusively in Photoshop CS2 and used a lot of layers and masking.  I started by increasing the saturation of her dress, then softened her skin using Dust and Scratches to lessen the look of the bumps on her elbows.  I then brightened her face and played with the layer opacity until it looked ok to me.  By brightening, you lose some contrast and detail and the girl was already a bit blurry so I added a layer of sharpening and a high pass overlay to help define her a bit more.  I also brightened and sharpened just her eyes a bit more.  I added some overall saturation, boosted the curves, and cropped.   Voila! My version.

I'd love to hear what you think!!!

To see more edits or try it yourself, head on over to:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Project 365 - day 56. Venue 3! | Delafield Children's Photographer

Well here's the third and final potential venue for the March Charity Event that's in the works.  I think it's my favorite choice because it comes with perks...   I loved the other spots too but for this event I'm leaning towards #3.   I'd love some feedback!!!   Please leave a comment or email me...which background would you most like to have for shots of your children??

Again, still finalizing the details but I think you can tentatively mark Sunday, March 21st down on your calendars as the day to get a mini-session with me and a free 5X7 of your choice just by donating to a VERY worthwhile charity!  I'll post more on the charity and the event soon but for now, please weigh in your thoughts on the venues.   I'd love to hear what you think!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Project 365 - day 55. Venue 2 and no friends

Today I checked out another choice of venues for my upcoming charity event.  This one I spotted last night while eating dinner and really wanted to go back to check it out in the daylight.  Clare had school this afternoon so I decided it would work great to go there when I only had Emma.   Unfortunately, Emma didn't agree.   She had the absolute death grip on me and while yesterday I had to take pics of my model while holding my baby...TODAY I had to take pics of my model who WAS my baby that I was holding.  Disaster!!!

She looks as happy as yesterday...

Finally, I resorted to having someone else take a picture of us in front of the wall.  Neither image is representative of what I'd do with two hands and a real model child but there you go.  

Cool colors, eh?

And this fence is actually outside but wouldn't it be great to have a shot of a kid in front of that?  I can dream...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Project 365 - day 54 (and friends). Venue Option 1

I'm inspired.  I've decided to definitely host a charity event in March.  I've been tossing the idea around in my head for about a month now but I had a real sign yesterday that set me over the edge so today I'm in full planning mode and very excited!  Details will come as I iron out the details but for now you can check out some quick snaps I took at a potential venue today.

Love the colors in this area:

This is great!  A REAL Barn door and REAL barn floors...people pay big bucks for fake one, ya know?!

Aren't these floors AWESOME?!?!

Gorgeous light!  Gorgeous props!

I have my eye on that great wall!

Lest you think that I made Clare pose and Emma cry the whole time...

The fun wall behind them while they played.  Love, love, love it!

And yes, please God, Bless these kids for tolerating my excursions!  This won't be the last of them...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Project 365 - day 53. It's OK To Be Jealous

Yes...getting an iPhone was super cool and I immediately became worthy of envy. Getting a custom skin on my iPhone? Well, that's just OTT. Go on, admit it. Have you ever seen a cuter iPhone???

Not a very exciting picture but I'm so proud I just couldn't wait till the light was better to show it off. :-)

PS...The good news is that you could have one too! I can make a custom skin using your images! Wouldn't that be fun!? These removable skins are sized for iPhones, iPods, Blackberry's, and Laptops. Hard shells are available too. I love these things!!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hands On - {i heart faces} week 8 challenge

The challenge at {i heart faces} this week is called Hands On.  Well, I edited some hands last week that really stood out to me!  In this shot, this lovely 9 year old girl was sitting on a hospital bed reading "Guess How Much I Love You?" to her 2 year old brother just after her new baby sister was born.  It was a really special moment and one I won't soon forget.

Check out more "hands" or play along by going to:

Project 365 - day 52. Let's Dance!

We had an outing today.  That's right.  All of us.  LEFT THE HOUSE!   It's been a rough week and while the little girls still aren't 100%, they're SO much better and well enough to not be kept in solitary confinement any longer!  Phew!   Needless to say, we all needed the day out and some nice family time.

We're lucky to have a great children's museum in Milwaukee and even luckier that we have a FREE corporate membership through Rob's work.  The kids had a blast!  They were all over the place but especially enjoyed dressing up and performing on the stage and also getting this little dance lesson.   It's not the greatest shot, I know, but I like to see at least a few of them happy at one time so it's a keeper!  Corey was also happy but more interested in playing with the video cameras than doing the ballet dancing.   He's below.  Trust me, he is happy.  Just trying to analyze something or other.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Project 365 - day 51. A Community Affair

Tonight I photographed an event at a local church benefitting a family that recently lost their husband/father to leukemia.  It was so wonderful to see the outpouring of support from the community!  There were a ton of donated items, loads of volunteers cooking and serving a lovely meal, and crowds of people there to show their support.   It was a true picture of community and I was a happy to be a part of it.

While I'd never met Paul, I had spoken to his wife when he went into hospice and we had plans to do a family session but he took a turn for the worse and passed away just days later.   His death coincided with a NILMDTS angel that I photographed and I like to think they met at the pearly gates.

I thought I'd share a few of the details that went into the event.

I was amazed by how well these cafeteria-type rooms were transformed into warm, cozy banquet halls:

There were some great raffle items and SOOO many.  I planned to include a shot of the tables but shut down photoshop before converting it to jpg and I'm too tired to go back and do it but there were some fun ipod nano, an American Girl bed and accessories, a bottle of Moet with 4 awesome stemless glasses that you can write names on with chalk (I won that!), and this GB Packers Helmet Grill and scarf.  Perfect for any TRUE cheesehead.  I'm only a convert so I stuck with the Moet.  :-)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Project 365 - day 50. Preconceived Notions

The little girls and I went out for a walk around the block today.  The weather is still fairly mild and the sun was gorgeous!  The only problem was trying to find a spot with some shade to take a photo.  Don't get me wrong...I'm not complaining just adjusting.

I love this fence that lines a street in my subdivision.  I had a split rail fence around the house I lived in as a little girl and I've always loved wood fences.  So when we got there I decided it was the picture spot...regardless of the sun factor!   I had a great idea in mind but Clare had some of her own so we went with that (obviously).

Oh, and yes....she is in her pajamas again.  At least we change them daily.  :-)

PS  You can click on the image to make it larger.

Fix-It Friday...#44

Okay, so this is actually only my 3rd Fix-It Friday but it's iheartface's 44th and it seems much easier to track if I'm using their numbering system so "44" it is!!

This week's photo is of a lovely little girl named Emma (great name, btw).  Cute shot of Emma but also a great shot of the neighborhood and underexposed because the camera was confused by the bright areas/shadows.   The metering needs to be done to the subject, not the scene as a whole, to avoid this.

Here is this weeks original photo:

While I like the look of the road under Emma's feet, I really wanted to eliminate as much of the "neighborhood" feel of the photo as I could so I cropped it much closer.

Here is my edit:

I did all of my editing in Lightroom 3 (a Beta version that's free to download and good until the real version is released).  I adjusted the exposure (up quite a bit for most of the picture and then selectively burned the brighter areas), upped the temperature a bit, increased the saturation in her vest to give it a bit of oomph, brightened Emma's face, and added a vignette to also help eliminate the distracting housing.

I'm making a point of not looking at any of the other edits posted (even the ones on the same webpage which is VERY hard to do) so I won't be biased by others but I'm anxious to see what others did!

I'd love to hear what you think so please leave a comment!!

To try editing for yourself and see what others have done, go to:

Have fun!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Project 365 - day 49. Thinking of Spring

Today was a definite turning point for Clare.  It was the first time since Saturday that she had any interest in getting dressed.  Her face is still sore and her nose is still running but we saw a real improvement overnight so that's a relief.

Emma might be mildly better.  Or maybe it's just my wishful thinking...   Either way, she's definitely not in modeling condition just yet.

We actually left the house for a short trip (I needed more Tylenol) and I think it did us all good to get out for a bit.  It's sunny and relatively mild so it felt nice to breathe the fresh, unsick air!  I kept my eyes open on our trip for a good photo op but nothing struck me...until we got home and I saw a lovely smile on my little girls face that I hadn't seen in a while and there it was...inspiration.

Glad to have you back, Clare!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Project 365 - day 48. One of Our Nosey Neighbors

We love that our house backs up to a nice wooded hill.  The only neighbors I have to worry about catching me in my pajamas on days like today are those nosey deer.    There were 4 of them up there spying on me most of the morning.   It was nice...a comforting sight after my VERY rough night.  Sadly, they left and the rest of the day was downhill.

Emma has croup.  Clare still suffering.  Mom is exhausted.   Off to cuddle....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Project 365 - day 47. Wet Kisses

It's been another rough day around here so this is going to be short.  I have a kitchen full of dishes and loads of work to get done but my arms have been full of sick kids all day and there's a good chance that I'm only on a temporary reprieve....

Clare was about the same today and now Emma is sick.  She coughed most of the night, had a fever today, and was generally miserable.  Have I mentioned that I HATE SICK KIDS!!!   It just breaks my heart when you see such a change in their personality and when they just lose the will to PLAY!

Lilly and Clare had a shower tonight when they were getting ready for bed and they were all kissing through the glass.   I love to see the kids kissy and cuddly with each other but tonight all I could think wonder Emma is sick too.    Wish I had more time to edit this to get it where I like it but not gonna happen tonight.  Sorry!

Fingers crossed for a better tomorrow (and a tolerable night).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Project 365 - day 46. Real life, Red faces.

Generally speaking, we are a very healthy household and I'm so thankful for that.  Poor little Clare has been hit hard by a cold the past several days though.  Her symptoms are typical cold one's but her look is completely different.  That's how we know she's REALLY sick...her eyes, coloring, everything just looks different.   So no glamour shots from our house today...just real life and a very red face.

I Wanna Dance - {i heart faces}

This week's contest at {i heart faces} is I Wanna Dance.  I have lots of pictures of kids dancing since it's a great way for some kids to really relax and let their guard down during a session.  This is a favorite photo though because it was unscripted.  Just this little girl, her little brother, and her Daddy having a good time together dancing!   Sheer joy (and speed)!   Love it!

To see more great dancing pictures, check out:



Sunday, February 14, 2010

Project 365 - day 45. A Happy Valentine's Day!

Rob and I aren't big on gift giving so we don't have big expectations for Valentine's Day.  But it IS one of the two or so days each year that I usually get flowers.  I know what to expect...

Rob got the kids out the door early under the guise of a McDonald's breakfast and returned with a bouquet of flowers from the local grocery store.  I think some women would actually be upset about this but not me.  I don't require flowers and gifts.  Not even cards.   What I like is that on the occasions when Rob DOES get me flowers, it's never roses or carnations.  It's always a bouquet that looks similar to this.  Because he actually remembers that these were the types of flowers and the colors that I had in our wedding bouquet.  This one isn't nearly as spectacular as the wedding one, of course, but it's close enough for me.

Rob also gave me a load of other gifts this weekend.  He gladly let me dump him with the crew of kids from 3 yesterday afternoon until I got home at Midnight so that I could go enjoy a fantastic adventure that he knew I'd love.  He let me sleep in till 9 today while he was out getting my bouquet and MickeyD's this morning.   He did loads of house cleaning and, most importantly, didn't get stressed out or annoyed while he was doing it.  He asked if I wanted a beer.  He did our taxes.   He took the kids out sledding and played Wii Mario Kart.   Loads of little presents.  And those all mean more to me than a card or wrapped gift ever could.

Thanks for a great Valentine's Day/Weekend, Hubby!  I love you!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Project 365 - Day 44. Flying High

First of all, let me apologize.  I'm not sure if any of you are "followers" and received notices of posts about Windows software packages over the past couple of days!?   I have NO idea what these are or how they're posting to my blog but I'll do my best to get that sorted tomorrow.

Well...I guess it'll actually be later today since technically it is tomorrow.  But I just walked in the door and intentionally saved posting my photo of the day because I just had the coolest experience.   My dear, dear friend Kim is getting her helicopter's license (how fun is that?!) and she invited me to tag along on her cross country night flight tonight.   Heck, YEAH!!   We did several take-offs and landings, had a "$100-Dollar Hamburger" and flew all around Chicago.   And I mean, we were IN Chicago...there were buildings up, down, in front, behind.  So awesome!!  Can't even explain the experience!    So, so, so fun!!!

I'm too tired to edit so I'm just throwing up a few shots from straight out of the camera.   I'm definitely not an expert at night photography and I was more about taking in the experience than taking the perfect photo but I think you'll get the idea.  Enjoy!!