Friday, December 28, 2007

Tips for Great Group Photos

Whether you’re photographing your parents on their anniversary or your son’s football team, group shots can be a challenge to arrange. Here are some tricks for getting great group portraits every time.

Go Unposed: Not only can you get good smiles and good shots out of unposed pictures, but shooting while the subjects are unaware might lead you to an even better portrait. Shoot before and after the "posed" shots to catch more natural expressions and interactions.

Shoot from Above: Try shooting from above the group. When they look up to see you, each person’s face will be visible and the angle will be flattering.

Arrange People in Levels: Create a more dynamic shot by arranging everyone so their eyes are at a different level. Eyes draw you in to a photo and by having them on different planes you'll guarantee a dynamic shot.

Bring People Together: In this situation, asking the subjects to put their arms around each other helped close a gap between them. It can also guarantee smiles as subjects play off each other's energy.

Form a Visual Triangle: When arranging groups, avoid static-looking rows. Creating a triangle formation gives the shot a sense of unity.

Capture the Kids with Ease: When photographing a group of kids, take photos during play rather than forcing posed shots. By simply asking them to turn to the camera you can grab great personality shots with lots of impact without sacrificing the kids’ playtime.

Place Your Subjects with Purpose: Assemble your group and personally place everyone where you want them to stand. If someone is wearing brighter clothing, you may want to place that person behind other people or toward the center so that he is not as distracting. Important family members, such as grandparents, should be situated in the center of the group.

Place People on Levels: Placing your subjects on different levels increases the interest in any group photo. Use natural or architectural elements to do this outdoors. Let everyone do what’s comfortable, whether it’s standing or sitting or jumping on someone’s shoulders to get the effect.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Quote of the Week

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!

What a wonderful Christmas! Except for DH having caught the stomach bug I suffered this weekend, today was delightful. The girls woke us up a bit after 7:00. Miss M. was thrilled and a bit shocked when she whispered to me, "Santa DID come!" She has definitely been worried, with good reason. The grandparents and uncles came over for my traditional Christmas breakfast. They must like me doing this meal each year because everyone raved about how delicious everything was. (Mom has always said that anything, even a PB&J, is better when someone else fixes it!)

The girls and I played the Harry Potter Scene It game that Santa brought. I'm going to have to watch the movies again to keep up with Miss A. So far we're tied, but (don't tell her!) I don't think it'll last. So what if I've read all 7 books and seen all 5 movies! Uncle Brian got us the 5th movie that we'll watch tomorrow so she will match the movies with the books she's read. I won't be surprised if she starts and finishes the 6th one by New Year's.

The grand finale was dinner at Uncle Reid's- he gets my vote for next year because he can cook! Presents with Daddy's family was lots of fun even if Daddy didn't feel well enough to be there. :(

It has been such a pleasure to celebrate the reason for the season with family and friends and to watch the delight on the children's faces during this magical time. Many blessings to you and yours from all of us! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

Tonight was a wonderful, traditional Christmas Eve. Both girls along w/Ansley's best friend (who was "on loan" from the Catholic church) and the other children at church put on a beautiful nativity pageant that JC wrote and directed. (She definitely earned some stars in her crown for this feat!) Ansley played the Angel Gabriel while Macey (believe it or not) played Mary. The audience thought they were perfect, but you know our little devil, I mean, daughter #2! She saw Ms. Debbie in the pew behind us with the video camera, so she was sure to make sure to smile for the camera. As she walked past her Daddy, she stuck her tongue out at him!

We went to my parents' house following the service for our traditional Christmas Eve fest: dinner and presents! I think we all had the most fun watching Alex play with the dumptruck we got him (and of course play in the box).

Hope you've been good 'cause Santa Claus is comin' tonight!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007


Close To My Heart has a great Heart of Winter promotion right now called Serendipity. It is a special paper pack with patterned paper, textured cardstock, textured cardstock die cuts, and a cool stamp set! I carved out a little time these past few days off to play.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Deck the Malls!

Even though our Stone Mountain plans got rained out, we spent a very fun weekend w/A's best friend and her parents at their apartment in Alpharetta (he works there during the week). The girls' Christmas presents were gift certificates to Build-A-Bear, and Miss M. was almost as excited about her B-A-B "credit card" as she is the bunny she built. Carrots and Cinnamon (A's new doggie) are welcome additions to the toy menagerie that seems to multiply when we're not looking.

Friday, December 14, 2007


My brother SOLOED Monday! He's been taking flying lessons for the last month or two ("like father, like son" they say) and Sunday night, his instructor decided he was ready.

You can read all about it at and find out about the surprise "cheerleaders" who made this moment even more special.

Advent Lessons & Carols

This past Sunday, our church hosted a special Advent Lessons & Carols service. The music was absolutely incredible this year, if I do say so myself. (I wish you could have been there!) Our music director recruited some outside help (from colleagues and students in the music department at the local college), plus our handbells played for the first time in about nine years! Too bad we didn't think to get a picture of three generations of ringers: Mom, Miss A., and me. A. worked very hard to learn her part. (DH enjoyed the gentle nudges she got from me when she was supposed to ring, though most of the time she didn't even need them.) The Choristers sang "The Angel Gabriel" and though they started out like the Three Stooges, they made a joyful noise for the Lord. The best part of all (to this proud mom) was A's solo! Yes, that nine year old sang an a capella solo (the first verse of "Once in Royal David's City") with the full choir joining in for the rest of the verses as they processed out the church. Ah, the music of angels!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Two New Techniques

We'll be making these two cards (plus a few more) at my card class tomorrow. The one on the left uses the retiform technique (and is MUCH prettier IRL). While a bit time-consuming, this technique is great when you want a layered look without lots of bulk. The second card was made in the Warhol style. Pretty easy to see how that technique got its name, isn't it? To be true to Warhol, the colors should probably be more vibrant, but I really like the simplicity. Works for me!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The good news is that my Dad's knee surgery to repair a torn miniscus (sp?) went well today. Turns out he had not one torn cartilage, but two, plus some arthritis that the dr. worked on. He's doing just fine and already bored w/keeping it elevated and on ice.

The bad news is that the mole removed last week, like the one from my ankle a few months ago, is pre-cancerous. This bad news really isn't too bad, though, because my dr. thinks he got it all, so like my ankle, no further treatment is required. He/I will just have to watch them very carefully, because he really didn't think either of these were suspicious. Truly, I am blessed that these problem spots were found early and shouldn't give me any trouble at all. (And I'm glad to have all but one of the stitches out- feels better already!)

The ugly I'm sure you've already unfortunately pictured due to the nature of this post. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Quote of the Week

"I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now... for I shall not pass this way again."
~William Penn

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at our house! DH and the girls picked out a beautiful tree in between our Thanksgiving feasts, and we've spent the afternoon getting it decorated. (I wish you could have heard the girls sing with the children's choir at church this morning. They sounded like angels, and since they're half the choir, I could hear them!)

DH set up the tree and strung the lights, I hung the garland, and the girls have knocked themselves out with "their" ornaments. Needless to say, the bottom of the tree is very well decorated. ;) I am slowly filling in the top between cooking up some turkey soup. (We'll see how I do on THAT endeavor! Betty Crocker I am not.)

Friday, November 23, 2007

New 'do

Can you tell from the Thanksgiving picture that I got a new haircut? I was shocked Friday when she whacked it all off- NOT what I was expecting and really not what the picture I showed her looked like. It's growing on me though (no pun intended). What do you think? (I'll try to get some close ups posted soon.)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!

Here we are w/DH's mom & brother after stuffing ourselves. What a bunch of turkeys!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Completely Enchanted

The girls, Grammie, & I were completly "Enchanted" by Disney's new movie! It was much better than I expected (so much so that I didn't want to leave to get a popcorn refill), and the girls were enthralled. It was nice to go to a movie that three generations could enjoy together. (You'll notice no boys were allowed though.) Without giving anything away, I can say that it is a well done spoof and fairy tale all in one. We found Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty elements, yet Enchanted is also all its own film. The girls gave it 2 thumbs up!

(It was also a nice end to a full day. I had to work today plus had a doctor's appointment- 3 skin tags and one mole on my back were removed. Yuck. I'll have to go get stitches out next week.)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Paris Las Vegas layout

We'll be making this 12"x12" two-page layout based on the "Serenade" concept from Imagine, the absolute best scrapbook layout guide on the market, at tomorrow's scrap club meeting. You can watch a slide show, complete w/close ups of each page and the techniques, at my website ( under Training & Events for 11/18.

Legendary Moments stamp set
The Works alphabet stamp set
Paris set (Cavallini Papers & Co.*)
Free Spirit paper pack
Cocoa, Indian Corn Blue, Honey, and Black inks
gold foil & Empressor tool
gold brads
Dimensional Elements

techniques: faux burnt edges, stampin on foil, dry embossing foil, covering chipboard w/paper

*Everything is from Close To My Heart except the Paris set, which was purchased at the Louvre Atlanta exhibit at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Quote of the Week

"The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." ~Michelangelo (1475-1564)

Saturday, November 10, 2007


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