Love Song Photography

10903895_637121069726639_1388080003342859275_o

When we think about photography and pictures, I think most of us first think about capturing the big, happy, wonderful moments of life.  Weddings, new babies, birthdays, first days of school and exciting milestones.

But as we all know, life isn’t always wonderful.  I stumbled across a photographer named Lindsey Villatoro , from California, when some photographs of hers were featured in an article about a couple who had lost a child.

She captures beautiful images that you’d expect to see on any photographer’s website, like weddings and babies.  But she also has an amazing gift and a gracious heart that lead her to take photographs of difficult situations.  She photographs children and adults fighting cancer and other illnesses.  She photographs funerals and memorial services.  She has a unique service called “Forever Loved” to capture priceless images of situations that require more empathy and delicateness than many of us may be able to provide.

Not only does she provide this experience and these priceless images to these families going through unthinkable difficult times at no charge, her Facebook page and website also offer the families a platform to share their stories.  Awareness is raised, fundraisers are shared, people are registering to donate organs and be blood and marrow donors,  prayers are lifted up, friendships are formed.  Lindsay has created a truly amazing thing.

Her website is LoveSongPhotography.com

She also has a Facebook page where she shares amazing images and stories.

You can see some of her videos on Vimeo as well as YouTube

There was a fundraising campaign in December to help Lindsay cover her costs as she provides these services to families free of charge, but it has unfortunately ended.  I encourage you to bookmark her website, follow her Facebook page, and get the word out to your friends and family about this amazing woman.  I will surely be donating and sharing on my blog when she has another fundraising event.  Please do consider sharing this post or her links on your social media platforms.

Note- some of the images on the Love Song Photography website and Facebook page may be upsetting or considered graphic to some people (such as babies who have passed away). I have no affiliation with Lindsay or Love Song Photography, and do not benefit financially by sharing this information.  I share these links for the sole purpose of sharing Love Song Photography with others, and the hope that it will reach someone who can be helped by her services, as well as fundraising and awareness for both Love Song and the families that Lindsey serves. 

Advertisements

New “Occasions” Catalog!

Have you seen the new Stampin’ Up! Occasions catalog? (Click the link to the left to see it!)  It has brand new products as well as some returning favorites to help you celebrate the occasions that are coming up in the first few months of the year.  Think Valentine’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day, Easter, Graduation, new baby, wedding, and more.  There’s something for every paper crafting interest from card making to scrapbooking, and for every level from beginner to advanced.

20150106_Occasions_en-US

AND…it’s Sale-A-Bration time! That means that for every $50 you spend (pre-tax and shipping) you get to choose a free item of your choice from the Sale-A-Bration catalog.  There are several different stamp sets, designer series paper, embellishments, even a brand new exclusive Project Life mini card collection! These items are exclusive to Sale-A-Bration and can’t be purchased.  You can also earn more free items by hosting a show, or becoming a Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator.

20150106_SAB_en-US

Please contact me today at blackbirdscraps@gmail.com for more information, to schedule your own show (in-person, catalog, or online) or to learn about the benefits of becoming a Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator.

Custom Photo Ornaments Made with the Project Life App

I wanted to share an idea for a Christmas ornament I made using the Project Life app using the Stampin’ Up! Seasonal Snapshot edition and my own photograph. (The Project Life app is amazing, is currently only available for IOS but Android is in the works).
IMG_8259

I used an ultrasound photo to create a “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament, but you could of course recreate this with ANY photos or theme. I’m planning one for my in-law’s new puppy which I hope to photograph and add to this post. This would work well for weddings, older kids, a new home, vacation pictures…the possibilities are endless.

First, I made a collage in the Project Life app. I wanted 2×2 photos because I thought those would work best with the ornaments I had. The ornaments shown were $1 each, plastic, and purchased at Michael’s, though I’m sure you could find similar ones at a variety of places.

Collage made with 4x6 "K" template in Project Life app

Collage made with 4×6 “K” template in Project Life app

I printed the 4×6 print with six 2×2 photos via Walgreens 1 hour photo, cut them apart, and taped the ultrasound photo and the journal card photo back to back.

I then punched a hole through the photo, and strung twine through it. I tied this to the ornament top after sliding it into the ornament. I added decorative “snow” (also purchased at Michael’s) and some pink and blue sequins.  I think I’m going to try confetti or some scraps of curled ribbon for another ornament. I’m sure some wood veneer elements, buttons, and small and lightweight decorative scrapbook item you might have would be adorable as well. Customize it to your theme, and have fun!

Here’s another one. For this one I used the accordion “crinkle” sold near gift wrap and tissue paper, and made an ornament for my in-laws to celebrate their first year with their new puppy. The back side that says “Riley’s First Christmas” is using the “Just Add Color” Project Life edition, also found in the app.

IMG_8266 IMG_8267

This ornament took me about 5 minutes to assemble after all my supplies were gathered in front of me. This was simple enough that kids could help too. I hope you enjoy, Merry Christmas, and happy stampin’ and scrapin’!

Resizing photos for Project Life

Create perfectly sized photos for your Project Life pocket pages!

Create perfectly sized photos for your Project Life pocket pages!

I’ve had several people ask me how I create the smaller sized photos I often use on my Project Life pages. I decided to try to write this tutorial to explain my process so I could just direct people to one post.
Let me start by saying this is not my original idea. I saw other Project Lifers on Pinterest, Facebook, etc. using apps to edit their photos in a very similar way as I’m about to describe. I don’t remember exactly who I saw it from first so I unfortunately can’t give credit. Thankfully most people in the scrapbooking community are all about freely sharing ideas & inspiration, so I hope this post can help someone who hasn’t seen this information yet.

I’m a diehard Apple girl, so I will be referring to apps and directions based on using an iPhone. I do hope that Android users will be able to modify the information and use it too.

I use the PicFrame app primarily. I see it is .99 cents now, but I think I downloaded it for free during a promotion. But in my opinion it is WELL worth the dollar!  There are tons of different apps out there that do the same or similar things, so I encourage you to use the app you like best. These basic directions will hopefully get you started and will translate at least somewhat to other apps. Let’s get started!

IMG_3908
So first, open your PicFrame app. The most important step is to change your ratio to 3:2. This is the same as 6×4. If you are working with the 3:2 ratio, your finished photo collage will print well as a 4×6 print. There are photo labs that print the square 4×4 “Instagram” sized photos, but since 4×6 is the most common, that’s what I like to work with the most.

IMG_3935

 

Two 4×3 photos on one 4×6 is probably what I use the most, because of the 4×3 and 3×4 pockets of Project Life pages. After you change your ratio, click on the 2nd frame on the top row. It will be square on the front page, but when you click it after you’ve changed your ratio, you’ll see it will open up into a rectangle, which is what we want for 4×6 pictures.


IMG_3938

 

Tap a grey rectangle

Click "camera roll" to select your photos

Click “camera roll” to select your photos

Click “camera roll” to select your pictures. You can chose both photos at once (it will say 1 of  2, then 2 of 2) but if your photos are in different albums you can select just one photo, then click the other grey square, and repeat the process and go into a different photo album. I sometimes use other photo editing apps to add filters, text, or designs to my pictures, and those often get stored in albums by app.

Two 4x3 images on one 4x6 print

Two 4×3 images on one 4×6 print

 

PicFrame by default will put this white border around your photos. If you like it, keep it. If you don’t, click on “style”. If you slide the width button all the way to the left, it will remove the border completely. Or, you could make the border wider by sliding to the right, and you can also change the color if you wish. The “options” button in the top right also lets you round the corners of your borders if you wish. Sometimes I do leave a white border on my pictures, it can really make them pop on your layouts. You can always crop them off later, but you’ll lose that perfect 3×4 sizing.

You can adjust the width & color of your border (or remove it all together)

You can adjust the width & color of your border (or remove it all together)

 

When you are done with the border style, go to adjust. On this “adjust” screen, pinch and stretch with your fingers to zoom in and out of your photo. This way you are kinda “pre-cropping” your photos, and when you print them they will be ready to just cut in half and be ready to go as 3×4’s.  See how I zoomed in compared to the image above?  On the right side, Daddy’s legs are no longer a distraction in the photo, and we get a nicer close up of the baby. On the left, I managed to get rid of most of Sissy’s blue pants, and zooming in showcases the happy looks on baby & Daddy’s faces.

IMG_3912

 

When you are happy with your picture, click on “share” and then “save”

Don't forget to save!

Don’t forget to save!

 

The finished product, ready to cut in half and slide into page protectors.

The finished product, ready to cut in half and slide into page protectors.

The photo will be saved to your camera roll, and  you’re ready to go! You could also decide to share it on social media, using the other buttons. The photos I used above are both vertical. You can create horizontal photos as well.

You can rotate your photos as well.

You can rotate your photos as well.

See the picture on the left of Baby & Grampa?  They are looking out a window at a skyline and I took the photo horizontally. When I selected the photo from my camera roll, the app by default put it in vertically. If you want to change it, tap the photo with your finger, then select “rotate/mirror”. The rotate arrows shown in the picture above will then appear. Rotate your photo as desired, then use your fingers to pinch and pull again to crop it how you want.

working with horizontal photos

working with horizontal photos

You’ll see that the left photo is now horizontal and you can see more of the view, which I want in my printed photo. I’m going to flip the other photo now too:

IMG_3927

There, now Baby Brother is in the photo too. You’ll quickly get the hang of the buttons in the app, have fun playing with positioning and cropping to create the photo you like best.

Remember that first screen of the app, with all the different layouts? You can use those to make other sized photos as well!

one 4x4 and two 2x2's

one 4×4 and two 2×2’s

I also love the look of square photos. Project Life also has several page protector designs with 4×4 and 2×2 square pockets, so it’s nice to have photos that fit perfectly in the pockets. I like to make a collage with one 4×4 and two 2×2’s (I print most of my Instagram photos this way) or six 2×2’s on one 4×6. Remember to keep your 3:2 ratio. The frame highlighted in blue above will create one 4×4 and two 2×2 pictures on one 4×6 print if you keep the 3:2 ratio, like this:

Instagram photo on left, two 2x2's on the right

Instagram photo on left, two 2×2’s on the right

 

I tend to take a TON of pictures with my DSLR and my iPhone, so using 2×2 photos allows me to fit many more photos on a layout than I would have been able to printing each photo at 4×6 individually. It’s also a big money saver, getting anywhere from 2 to 6 photos on a single print! I initially through 2×2 would be too small, but if you zoom & crop correctly, I think this size actually showcases your photos quite nicely.

six 2x2 photos

six 2×2 photos

Again, keep the 3:2 ratio, chose the frame highlighted in blue above, and you can create a six picture collage. I often cut these up into the individual 2x’s and they are really fun to work with.

IMG_3923

Remember to “save” after each collage is created. I tend to create several different collages at once, and then print them.

Now that your pictures are created and saved, you can print your 4×6 with whichever developer you choose, or on your home photo printer. I like both Walgreens and Shutterfly. (A tip for Walgreens users…go through ebates.com and get cash back on your prints, even when you chose in-store pickup. The rate is currently 4%. I have received over $100 from ebates for just clicking through their site when I shop online instead of going directly to the store’s website) Then it’s time for the best part…Project Life!

several sizes of photos on one Project Life page

several sizes of photos on one Project Life page

 

a 2x2 photo attached with washi tape

a 2×2 photo attached with washi tape

 

two 2x2 photos on one 3x4 card

two 2×2 photos on one 3×4 card

I really hope this helps you, and have fun creating! Don’t forget to check out Stampin’ Up!’s exclusive line of Project Life products.  I am head over heels for the new Love Story card collection and accessory pack.

Don’t forget that you can subscribe to Paper Pumpkin for 50% off your first two months through September 10th. The September kit is adorable little burlap Halloween bags & tags. Click here for more information.

I am not affiliated with PicFrame and receive no compensation from them. I only share products and offers with my readers that I trust, use, and love myself!

Using Project Life cards at a Special Event

My youngest son recently turned one year old.  We had a fun party for him…well, I guess you could say party for us. The first birthday party for us was more a great opportunity to gather family and friends to socialize, and of course to celebrate our little guy.

Since he won’t remember the party, I wanted him to have something tangible to commemorate it. I made up a quick sign with instructions in My Digital Studio, put it in a picture frame, and set it out on a table next to blank Project Life cards and some journaling pens.

Created with My Digital Studio

Created with My Digital Studio

 

1st Birthday Party, Stampin' Up! style 1)Project Life sign-in cards 2)Celebrate banner customized with zoo babies to fit theme 3)high chair banner made with MDS

1st Birthday Party, Stampin’ Up! style 1)Project Life sign-in cards 2)Celebrate banner customized with zoo babies to fit theme 3)high chair banner made with MDS

Here’s how it looked set up at the party! 1) is the sign I made with MDS shown in detail above, in a blue frame (fun fact…the two blue frames shown in the picture here were originally used to hold table numbers at our wedding. I get sentimental pretty often). And as a side note I wanted to also show you the Celebrate banner (red arrow 2) that I jazzed up to match his zoo babies party theme by adding a sweet giraffe and elephants as accents. There are several blank frames in the kit to allow you to change up this banner and use it over and over for many different occasions. And the third green arrow is pointing to a little banner on Jackson’s high chair that I made with My Digital Studio in about 5 minutes, printed it, cut it out and glued ribbon on. Personalized, professional looking little addition that really added something. But back to the Project Life cards…..

When the party was over, I had a priceless collection of cards to put into his Project Life album. I of course love the things that his family and friends wrote, but I also love that the cards are each written in those special people’s handwriting. Now in one single album, my son will have greetings from his parents, siblings, grandparents, great-grandfathers, aunts, cousins, etc. I hope he will treasure this when he is older, and this is an easy way to collect memories from other people’s perspective. With three of my grandparents no longer with us, I treasure the handwriting and messages of family still with us.

 

Birthday wishes written by big sisters, ages 11 & 12. What a keepsake this will be!

Birthday wishes written by big sisters, ages 11 & 12. What a keepsake this will be!

 

Notes from Great-Grandpa & Grandma, in their handwriting.

Notes from Great-Grandpa & Grandma, in their handwriting.

 

These are going into Jackson’s 1st Birthday Album-I’m using the 6×8 Espresso album and it’s the perfect size to hold lots of photos, memories and memorabilia about this very special occasion. I also will put a couple pages about his birthday part at the end of his baby book, and a smaller insert page into the Family 2014 Project Life album that I have set up on a weekly system.

What I hope you take away from this is how versatile and useful the Project Life journaling cards can be! Imagine a set up similar to mine at a bridal shower or baby shower. Have guests write messages or advice to the bride-to-be, mom-to-be, or baby. Take a photo of each guest with the bride or mom to be, and put those photos in a small album along with the cards. That would be an amazing gift!

This idea would work great as a wedding guest book idea too. The new Love Story cards are very romantic and sophisticated yet neutral enough to match any wedding style.

I plan on doing this again next June when my oldest graduates High School! How fun will it be to send her off to college with a book of photos of her and her friends and family, along with personalized messages to her?

I’d love to hear of other “out of the box” kinds of ways you use your Project Life journaling cards. Any tips to share?

Thanks for reading, and happy scrapin’!

 

Products used:

A cute new set for boys…yes, boys!

As the mother to three girls and two boys, I know first hand how hard it can be to find cute things for boys.  The choices for boys seem to be one of two extremes…either extremely baby cute, which they outgrow so quickly, or the rough-and-tumble boy type icons like footballs, trucks, etc.

This is why I was so excited when I saw Stampin’ Up! release their new photopolymer stamp set called “Dear Heart”

dear heart

 

Ok, so there’s a football, but what I love about this set is the additional sweet icons Continue reading

Endless Birthday Wishes

Hooray! The adorable photopolymer stamp set “Endless Birthday Wishes” is back in stock after being sold out for some time. Grab yours before it’s gone again! It is $13.95 and I can see myself using it on birthday cards of course, but also Project Life pages (lots of non-birthday specific words and sentiments).

Endless Birthday Wishes (image copyright Stampin' Up! 2014)

Endless Birthday Wishes (image copyright Stampin’ Up! 2014)

 

 

It also comes in digital! Check out this first birthday poster I made for my son using My Digital Studio and the Endless Birthday Wishes digital stamps (as well as some other sets).

8x10 poster to display at birthday party, made with My Digital Studio

8×10 poster to display at birthday party, made with My Digital Studio

 

If you’d like to save on shipping I can add this to the order I’ll be placing on July 19th. Of course the digital version is available for immediate download ($9.95) and you can use it with My Digital Studio software FREE for 30 days. Intimidated by digital scrapbooking? I do one-on-one or group classes to teach you some amazing things you can create with My Digital Studio, from scrapbook pages, to cards, invitations, home decor and so much more.

Ronald McDonald House Reflections…

It was July 26th, 2013. I had given birth to my fifth child, a beautiful boy named Jackson, the previous day.
He was born at 39 weeks gestation after an uneventful pregnancy, at a whopping 9 lbs, 5oz, and seemed the picture of health.

943669_538833012831875_427910981_n
So imagine the confusion and dismay when a neonatologist came into our hospital room the day after Jackson was born, where my husband and I were beaming, watching our newborn sleep on my chest, to tell us that our baby boy had to be taken to the NICU immediately.

About four hours old

About four hours old

Continue reading

Those little hands

So here’s where I set a timer and just write for five minutes on a set topic. You can join us over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s website for 5 minute Friday. Today’s prompt is “hands”.

10 months old

10 months old

 

My baby boy is 10 months old. And in many ways, he’s not such a baby anymore. He’s mobile. He’s getting better at communicating his wants and needs. He’s growing (oh, is he growing he is 32″ tall and in size 2T clothes). But thankfully, blessedly, there are still parts of him that are very much baby. And one of those parts is his precious little hands. Continue reading

The new Project Life by Stampin’ Up! editions are HERE!!! (Plus enter to win a $20 Stampin’ Up! gift certificate)

 

I’m so excited to finally be able to share the brand new Project Life by Stampin’ Up! products. Remember…these editions are exclusive to Stampin’ Up! and you can’t get them anywhere else! Other advantages to our Project Life editions include: square corners-leaving the choice to round them or not to you; colors that coordinate exactly with our card stock, ribbon, and other products; no duplicates-each card in our Project Life edition is unique (some designs are printed twice as one vertical print and one horizontal print); cards in 3×4, 4×4, and 4×6 in each kit, making it easy to decorate pages with various sizes of photos including the very popular 4×4 Instagram photos; specialty packaging-our card collections come in boxes that make it easy to flip through the cards to find just the one you want, with extra room to store an accessory pack, the photographs you are working on, a journaling pen, etc.; made-to-match accessory packs, stamps, and other products; you also get the knowledge and support of a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator to answer any questions you may have, and offer continual ideas and motivation for you to complete your Project Life albums. I would LOVE to share my passion for Project Life with you and show you how easy, rewarding, and important it is for you to get those priceless photos of yours off your phones and computers and in to beautiful, easy to create scrapbook pages. Check out some pictures and descriptions below, and learn how you can win a $20 Stampin’ Up! gift certificate! Continue reading