say Yes to photographing a book…

by Dana on April 15, 2015

Hello friends!
I know it seems a little quiet here.
But if you could hear us in real life, it’s that same circus music on repeat.
It’s been a busy month!….and I’ve got lots to show you….but I can’t show you all of it yet.
How’s that for intriguingly annoying?
Sorry!
I’ll give you a few snippets of the set-up…


This past month I’ve been photographing a book!
A craft/sewing/fun project book!

You know, sometimes it’s hard to know which projects to say yes to and which to pass on.  But photographing a book seemed like a no-brainer, right?? Stylizing and photographing 40 projects, in whichever settings I choose?
Oh, and it has to be done in four weeks?


Gulp.  That’s a small time-frame.
But so far it’s been going great!  I’ve shot almost 30 of the 40 projects.

And when this box showed up on my doorstep, it was just like Christmas morning!   I carefully unwrapped each project and ooo-d and ahhhh-d, scheming about photo styling for each one.

The box was sent to me by the publisher, and is a collection of projects created by other crafters, bloggers, moms, people like you guys!  I have a few projects in there too.  And the book is about—-well, I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to disclose—but let’s just say it’s a fun craft book with some sewing, no-sewing, decorating projects, and even some holiday ideas.

Oh, and there might be some donuts.

And a pretend garden party in my backyard….(just waiting for the sun to set, and for the project to be thrown in)

You know you have a good husband when at the end of the work day, on a sweaty, buggy evening when he walks in the front door and you say, “hey, can you help me carry the table out into the back field so I can set up a faux wedding dinner?”…..well, he gives you that funny look and then asks where exactly it needs to go.

And as you’re walking down the deck stairs, MacGyvering the table around a curve (moments away from your arm muscles failing and mosquitoes eating your ankles) he asks “is this totally necessary?”
“Well, none of this is necessary….but it would be really cool.”
“Then it’s worth it.”

Thank you Casey.

Honestly, I never knew that photographing a book would be so fun.
Photography is really my favorite part of what I do with blogging and sharing.  And it’s exciting to take other people’s projects and make them come to life through stylizing and light.

Of course it’s tons of work too….with tons of different angles and set ups, trying all sorts of different things until you get just the right look.  And I’m sorry I’m not showing you the real photos here because they look so much better than these set-up pics and the process that happens to get the photos just right.
It really is an evolution of sorts.
And sometimes you take an hours-worth of photos and realize you’ve been in the wrong file setting on your camera.  Grrr.  And so you start over…..kind of like picking the seam out of that dress you worked on till 2am?
Yea. That.

And sometimes you have to wait days for the sun to come out so that at 2pm when Clara is home from preschool you can throw a garland in the frame, throw a Clara on the chair, and hope that she feels like blowing kisses to a 4 foot tall flamingo.

And then there are times when you don’t need a model, but your favorite Sleeping Beauty 3-year old jumps into frame, and refuses to leave.
Cheeeeeeeeese.


Me again?
Did you miss me?

And while we’re at it, lets wrangle Lucy into the shot too.

Oh Lucy.
She’s been wrangled into so many photos and setups over the years.  And thankfully (most of the time) she still enjoys doing it, and gives it her own little kick.

So, that’s what I (and we) have been up to.
I promise I’ll be back soon!
In fact, I might have a new video ready for you very soon.
In the meantime…good morning, good afternoon, and happy Spring!

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crackers + selfies + a rainy day….

by Dana on April 1, 2015

This month in art class, Lucy’s been working on a self-portrait (which is fitting with her recent Frida project).
I’m dying to see it.
I love it when my kids make art!So when Goldfish® Crackers asked me to get creative and use their crackers in a fun way with my kids…..the answer was clear: Goldfish Cracker Self Portraits!
All those bright colors.
All those cute crackers!
Selfies?!
YES.

So on a rainy afternoon I asked the kids if they wanted to make self-portraits with me.  I thought we’d start by taking a photo of ourselves, to base our Goldfish cracker portraits on.

Well my kids happened to be in a slap-stick happy, ultra goofy mood that day….so through a few giggles Owen asked, “what’s a portrait?”
“Well, it can be a painting or a photo or something that’s made to look like you, by you.”
“A photo portrait?!!”
“Well, yea.”
[laughs hysterically]

Apparently the words photo portrait are hilarious when you’ve been cooped up all day.
I could hardly get a photo in without him moving.

So we tried taking a group photo instead.
Till Owen yelled, “photo portrait!

And Lucy lost it.

So we ditched the photos and dove right into the project….and all those crackers.

….sampling along the way of course.

And we spent the next hour chatting, laughing, and making little snack-like versions of ourselves.

You know, I can never decide which Goldfish crackers are my favorite.
If I let the kids pick them out at the grocery store, they go for the Colors—cause who doesn’t love a rainbow?  If I’m picking out, I always go for the Extra Cheese + Pretzel mix.  Have you tried those?? Seriously.  The best!  The extra cheese bits get all over the pretzels, and mmmm.  It’s so good.
But during this project I also discovered this combo….
Chocolate + Pretzel.
Ahh!
Do it.

You’ll love it.

Just like you love watching your kids be creative together.
…and listening to their feedback on your own projects.
“Mom, you should add a neck to your portrait. That’s how portraits are done….”

Thank you Lucy.
Excellent idea.

And eventually our portraits were done.

Let us introduce ourselves….

 

 

And there you go.
(Part of) our family….in Goldfish crackers.

Now grab a box, or a bag, or a handful of Goldfish crackers and join the Goldfish Tales Adventure.  Share your own photo and story HERE for a chance to win a case of product each month, plus an awesome trip to the U.S. location of the winner’s choice.

What other cool projects can be made with Goldfish crackers? Tell me your ideas in the comments and you will be entered for a chance to win a $100 VISA Gift Card!

Entry Instructions:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected. 

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 4/1/14 – 5/31/15

Be sure to visit the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

 


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Think of all the things you can do in 20 minutes….You can drive your kids to school, fold laundry, watch an episode of Last Man on Earth (are you watching that?  SO funny),

OR…..

You could sew a really awesome pencil skirt!
And all your friends will think it came from their favorite store, because it’s gonna be all professional and amazing looking.

This might be my favorite MADE Everyday video to-date!….because the project is so easy, with big payoff.
HUGE return on your investment.

• We’re going to make the skirt fit your body perfectly
•  We’ll sew on a standard machine—my BabyLock works wonderfully, and I’ll show you a few stretchy stitches I like to use on my machine.
• We’ll make a really polished-looking waistband that’s easier than you think—no stringing the elastic through a waistband!



And when you’re done, you’ll spend the next 20 minutes (20 hours?) in stripey style.
Yay!

Okay, I’ll stop talking and let you watch.
Hit the play button below and enjoy!

MADE EVERYDAY with Dana is a fresh new sewing show, where we create everyday items  you will love and use.
To watch other episodes:
• Click the VIDEO tab at the top or….
• Subscribe to my Youtube channel so you’re updated as soon as the episode goes live.

FABRIC NOTES:
For these skirts you can use Jersey knit or Interlock knits (read more about sewing with knits HERE.)  The fabrics I used are from Hobby Lobby and from the LA Fabric District.

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Building a new home: The STUDIO, Before

by Dana on March 26, 2015


I say this every time… but it’s been forever since I did a home update!
So let me show you one of my favorite spaces in the house—the Studio.(If you’ve missed my other posts, our family spent the last two years building a custom home in the Austin, TX area. Check out my previous post from the series here.)

Okay. Just down the hall from the kitchen and Great Room is this spot. It’s a bright space, with glass doors, just asking you to come in.

Last time we walked through here it looked like this:

And now it looks like this!

A white open room, with still a lot of work to do.
In fact, this post is more of a “Before” or “Current” status of the room, because it’s a long work-in-progress.In the old house our Office looked like this:



(You can see more pictures and info here).

That space was perfect for our family at the time. But when we started discussing new home plans, we knew we wanted to create a room that was more than office. We wanted a nice large studio space, with lots of windows, and room for the whole family to enjoy.

It would be a workspace for me, a creative room for all, computer room, photo studio, craft zone, dance club (which happens often), and video set for MADE Everyday.

Yep! That wall right there is where the video magic happens (with bookshelves and tables moved around a bit). It’s also where I draft patterns and take photos with an all-white backdrop.

I love this space so much, and feel blessed to have a nice open room… because honestly, the whole family uses it more than I really imagined. The kids are in here every day coloring, writing stories, listening to music. And when friends come over, they drag them in here too.

Of course where do they do all this coloring?

At the big invisible island in the middle of the room!

Yes, we do actually have an island/workspace there, but it’s also a work-in-progress… like the rest of the furniture in here (which feels dwarfed in this larger room).

We always planned to have an island in the middle, but it needed to be just the right fit. All the “pre-made” art tables I found were too small, or not tall enough, or not the right color, etc.

So when we first moved in I started researching simple ideas for making a large craft table, with 4 chairs and some shelves. And you know when you have an image in your mind and you do a Google search and the very thing pops up?? And it’s totally awesome?! Yep. That happened. Thank you Ashley for reading my mind.

So we bought two of these and hauled them in, using our strongest workers.

Honestly, she insisted.

And I started to set up shop in the middle of the room, creating my own cutting table and art station.


Per Ashley’s recommendation, we purchased an oversized construction door to work as our table top, because it’s really hard to find a tabletop large enough, and wide enough to accommodate 4 chairs in the middle.

And for the last while this table has served our family well.
But here’s the problem… it doesn’t look quite as finished and polished as I envisioned.
And–as the art projects show here–there are pen and crayon marks everywhere on the wood (which makes it really hard to use the wood as a photo backdrop… though I do have decent photo-editing skills).

So, (I promise I’m going somewhere with this)… I went back to one of my original thoughts with the table top. If I want something custom… then why don’t I have someone make me a countertop for the island? Just like you would in a kitchen? Maybe a Formica® Laminate countertop?… something I can easily wipe down, that will look awesome, that will pull the room together… and it can be whatever size I want?

And guess what happened?
(just another reason I love blogging)
Last month, the company emailed asking if I’d like to review their new Formica® Laminate Jonathan Adler Collection?!

What? Yes! All they had to say was Jonathan Adler and I would have reviewed anything. He has such a fantastic mid-century modern and colorful style.

But back to countertops.
Formica® Brand teamed up with Jonathan Adler and created 9 new patterns, which you’ll find at Lowe’s home centers and in certain kitchen and bath distributors around the country.

And these are not your grandma’s countertops.

If you haven’t seen Formica® Laminate in a while, it’s really cool, and really current… and can be used for more than just countertops. Look at those orange cabinets!

And I love the tagline:
Countertops that pop. Surfaces that shine.

Yes, please.
Could the timing have been better??

So. Now I’ve got a choice to make.
Which of the 9 patterns do I choose for the Studio island?
I ordered free samples from the Formica® Corporation website (which was easy to do and they arrived quickly).

I really love the Lacquered Linen patterns, specifically in Green, Crème, and Orange.

But… you know me.
It will likely come to this…

Because come on:


He and I could totally hang out together.

And… you could totally win a $100 Lowe’s gift card by leaving a comment below!
So, to enter for a chance to win, give me your input–which color would you do?? And how would you use Formica® Laminate in your house?

Okay. I’m off to measure for a new countertop…
We’ll talk soon….

Giveaway RULES:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 3/26/2015 – 4/23/2015
Be sure to visit The Formica® Brand’s page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

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