Art Challenge link up!

Jan 31, 2013

Do you remember the art challenge I posted about in December? My goal for January was to doodle, draw, or paint something every day. It was usually all sketches and doodles, but I'm glad I did it and I have really been inspired to create more art. So, you will definitely be seeing more drawings around here.

I promised I would do a link up for the end of the month, so if you joined in on my art challenge this month, even if you only drew one doodle, I would love for you to link it up!  I'll be sharing some more of my art soon :)



Jan 30, 2013

Hi all! Wanted to give a last call for February sponsors. There are two spots left and only cost $5 each! I would love to meet you and help you grow and expand your blog or shop! Check out advertising options here.

Canary Lane Photography

Jan 28, 2013

Today I want to introduce you to a fantastic photographer, Sadi Lane (who just happens to be my cousin ;)). She co-owns a photography business, Canary Lane Photography in Redlands, CA and has a gorgeous studio (straight out of Pinterest, I swear). My fave photos of hers are her wedding sessions. Sadi always captures the special moments perfectly.

Onto the exciting part! I interviewed Sadi and today she will be talking about her business and even some tips on choosing a great camera!

How did you start/what inspired you to start Canary Lane Photography?
"I knew after three years of business on my own as a photographer I wanted to take it to the next level. I wanted to focus my energy on photographing the things that inspired me the most, which happen to be love and emotions, and I wanted to start shooting more engagements, weddings etc. I met my business partner Victoria when I was pregnant with my daughter and we hit it off, she was interested in different genres of photography than I was so there wasn't any competition between us and we decided it would be a great idea to bring our businesses together as one, and offer all the things we loved, but each have a specialty, for her its birth and newborn photography, for me it engagements and weddings. Once we had decided on the partnership, step two was finding a location where we could open our business, and start a successful studio, this took months of looking, planning and arranging but we finally found the perfect place, a 1200 square foot studio space that had previously been a hair salon. It took lots of hard work, sweat and late nights painting and decorating before Canary Lane Photography studios was born."
What began your love for photography?
"I can't really say where my love for photography began. I was one of those children who ran around with a disposable camera taking photos of everything on my family vacations and scrapbooking them (quite poorly) but I was never all about photography. I really grew up with a love and appreciation for all types of art. In highschool I took an art class and won several prizes from paintings and artworks throughout my childhood. At the age of 19, I was in a coffee shop reading a photography magazine and looking at the photos of beautiful cities when I was approached by a wedding videographer local to the small town. He asked if I was a photographer (because I was reading photography magazines) and informed me his business partner was retiring and he was looking for a new photographer to work with his well established videography company. I was taken aback, slightly shocked at the initial conversation. I had no idea what I was, or what I wanted to be or what I was doing with my life, and all of the sudden I was on the spot being asked if I could do something. Well of course I was intrigued, was I a photographer or could I be? So I went out with my canon coolpix camera and started practicing on friends and posting my work online to see what people thought! I spent two months researching every photography forum I could, posting images and letting people rip them apart. Within two months of posting work, I started getting calls to hire me and decided I would do this with my life, I had a direction, a talent and an opportunity that no 19 year old could pass up, getting paid to do something I loved. Now four years later I realize how Crazy I was to think this would be easy and glamorous. If there is one thing I have learned in running my business and being a photographer, this is hard work!"

Do you have any advice for choosing a great camera?
"When choosing a camera, it is important to know what you will use it for. I would not use the same camera to photograph a portrait as I would to photograph sports events, or weddings. Cameras and lenses are all so very different, and it is true you get what you pay for. The better the camera you get, the more capabilities you have as you learn to use it, chances are the more your going to spend. Equipment doesn't make the photographer, talent and artistry do, but your method of capture is important and everyone has their own tastes! I am a Canon girl, have been from the beginning. I would recommend doing some research on the cameras, reading reviews and playing with them before you buy."
What is one of your favorite photos you have taken?
"Hmmm that is a hard one to be honest. Its funny because as a portrait photographer I photograph so many different genres for so many different types of clients and I love all of them for different reasons. Our studio does over 300 shoots a year, some in studio some outdoors, and of those to chose a favorite would be nearly impossible. I will include a few of my recent favs though :)"

Canary Lane Photography: Website // Facebook (psst - they're always offering deals on their fb!)
Aren't her photos gorgeous?! She did some family pics for us and they turned out amazing!


Jan 26, 2013

Today is a gloomy, drizzly day. It's the perfect time to stay at home and be a lump, which I excel at. But, I did head outside for a few minutes to take pictures, and then started a 24 hour facebook giveaway (which you should totally go enter).
What's the weather like where you are?

A Blog Questionnaire

Jan 25, 2013

Getting your feedback is something I've been wanting to do for a while. One of the things on my goals list this year is really devoting myself to this blog (as in actually writing posts every day!), but I can't grow and expand without your help. I want to make your experience here better times 100. Would you please take 60 seconds and fill out the form below? I will love you forever if you do.

Thanks, love bugs!

DIY Dog Treats

Jan 21, 2013

These dog treats are so easy to whip up for your pooch. Even for me, because I take forever when I bake/cook something. I picked up a bone cookie cutter and a recipe from the dollar section at Target, but you can use any kind of cutter for this.

1/2 cups water
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
4 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 oats

Blend water, oil, eggs, and vanilla together. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, and oats together and then pour into wet mixture. Now add the peanut butter and mix all ingredients until you form a ball of dough. Roll out and shape. Put onto a non-stick lightly greased cookie tray. Cook 20 minutes at 400 F. Turn off oven and allow the biscuits to cool in oven until crisp and hard. Store in airtight container.

I made about 3 1/2 dozen treats with a 3-inch cookie cutter.
And... she loves them!

How to Make Product Collages on Photoshop

Jan 20, 2013

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6
I love making product collages. If you were over here yesterday you saw my Chevron Love collage featuring the items above. Today I'm going to show you how to make your very own!
I use Photoshop Elements 8 but you can use any version of Photoshop. This technique is very simple but can be time consuming. I think the finished product is worth it!
 Step 1. Open a new file. You can do this by hitting ctrl+n. I made my image 710x600 pixels, which is about the width of my post area.
 Step 2. Find a product you'd like to feature in your collage. The first product I chose was from this shop. Be sure when you choose a photo, it should be a simple shape and easy to cut out. It works best if it's on a plain white background, too. Once you have your product, copy a photo of it and paste it into Photoshop.
 Step 3. Zoom in a bit (magnifying glass icon) and take the eraser tool (pink eraser icon) and erase most of the background surrounding the item. Leave space for the smaller and detailed erasing.
 Step 4. For more careful and precise erasing, I use the paintbrush tool. Set your main color to white then click on the little paintbrush icon near the top of the screen. This will pull up an options bar. Set the hardness to around 40% and then you can paint over the background slowly and carefully.
Step 5. Zoom back out and check your work. If it's still rough around the edges, you can zoom back in and clean it up.
 Step 6. Once you've repeated steps 2-5, place your different images evenly. You can add a title to it, too.
Step 7. Add numbers with the text tool and place them next to the images.
Pretty easy,  huh? ;)
Here are a few tips:
-Always give credit and link to the stores you're featuring items from
-Try sharing products with a theme (like my chevron theme) or with a color scheme that all the items match

Chevron Love

Jan 19, 2013

I love chevron, period. I may be a bit behind on the times (we're all up in herringbone now), but I will always fall for some chevron sweaters or earrings. I mean, how adorable are those?!
(psst... tutorial on how to make your own product collages coming soon!)

(Super) Easy Clipping Mask Tutorial for Photoshop

Jan 18, 2013

Okay, do you want to know one of the easiest, handiest tricks you can do with Photoshop? 
Clipping masks. 
They take five seconds and are seriously so simple. I have Photoshop Elements 8 but you can use this tutorial for almost every version. If you are a Photoshop beginner, read on!

So you've seen graphics that are filled with some kind of pattern, right? If not, just scroll up a little bit and check out the elephants ;). Today you will learn how to fill any kind of shape/word with a photo or pattern.
Step 1. Start by making sure your layers bar is showing. If it isn't there, go the "window" tab near the top of your screen and click on "Layers". 
Now open up a new file. You can do this by hitting ctrl+n and typing in the sizes. My image was 600x400 pixels.
Step 2. Type in any word you want by clicking on the little "T" in the tool bar. Be sure to choose a wide font so the photo will show through clearly.
Step 3. Click on the "file" tab and click "place".
Step 4. This will open up your image files. Choose a photo you want to insert into your image. Click "place".
Step 5. You just inserted your picture into your image as another layer. Be sure it overlaps your word. If it's behind it, you can rearrange it by dragging the picture box to a different spot in the layers panel.

Now here comes the magic... Press Ctrl+g.
Boom! Your photo just got "clipped" to the shape behind it.
You can drag the photo around inside the clipping mask so it will show through differently.
Now for the last step... "link" the two layers by holding down ctrl as you select them both in the layers panel. Then right click them and choose "link layers". Linking your layers makes it so you can't accidentally drag the photo that's inside to a different spot if you're trying to move the whole image.

Ta daaa! I know this was a lengthy post (barf), but it really only takes a minute. You can use clipping masks with shapes too! That's how I made the elephants at the top of this post. Instead of putting photos in them, I used patterns.

That's all, folks! Have a fantabulous day!

What I've Been Up To...

Jan 9, 2013

Last weekend I went to California for my cousin's wedding. This is only the third wedding I've ever been to (that I can remember), so it was nice to be able to dress up all fancy-like ;)

As usual, my whole family went down to Dana Point the first day we were there. We go there every time we visit CA and shop in the cute little stores they have. We also went down to the tidepools...
 I even made a new friend, Hummus the hermit crab.
 When we were walking back I noticed two little boys building rock towers. I thought it would make a really cool photo.

"umm... can I take a picture of your rocks?"

One says yes and the other says no, so I figure I will take a few shots because it would be awkward just walking away. But I feel so awkward, I don't get any good ones.
 The beautiful wedding.
 It was so sweet.

 The next day we went to Balboa island and walked around.
 We took a ferry to another area and there were things like bungee jumping and this rickety old ferris wheel my mom said she rode when she was a kid. 

We got frozen bananas and Balboa Bars and then took the 30 second ferry ride back.
Do you have any special places your family visits regularly?