Category Archives: Photography

Bloom into Summer

I CANNOT believe we are rounding out  June this week.  I guess it’s time to take down the Easter decor then huh!?! (no worries, I took it down 2 weeks ago)

I might be the world’s worst gardener.  My thumbs are brown, however I happen to have a husband that manages to keep things alive so I’ll give him full credit for the blooms in our yard.

Purple Iris’ nearly 3 feet tall!

The azalea decided to bloom again after a few dormant summers.

I have no recollection of what these are …any one want to help a friend by identifying these pretty purplish perennial.  I planted from seed several years ago and they are the one happy dance I do every spring.

And the Pink Peony that never last long enough.  Because I feel like these take forever to burst into an amazing bloom, I captured the stage from bud to bloom.

Now that summer is in full bloom, I’ll be returning to my full-time job and life will be insane at least until mid-august at work.  I’m hoping to offer a post at least 2-3 times a week.  Based on my track second that isn’t always realistic, but I will try 🙂



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Filed under Photography, Real Life

Return from paradise


We just returned from a cabin on the shores of lake Superior. The husband and I woke each morning at 5 am to a cup of jo and this view. (Confession: we were usually back in bed by 5:45 am). It was a splendid time spent completely unplugged enjoying our time as a a family of 4. If you want to see the instagram version of our life…feel free to follow me at littledtales.

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Good Intentions {Life}

Have you ever had a day or a week with project planned, and then life just happens and whisks you right off your feet. Before long you are wondering where the time went. That seems to be everyday lately. I have so many “things” on my to-do list, really it should be the must-list and the wish-list. Because whether I like it or not, the kids MUST get fed; and I WISH I had un-interupted time to sit at the computer to post a few of my projects. It’s pretty sad when I write sleep on the to-do list and it never seems to get crossed out. It seems whenever one child settles down, the other bursts into an outrage or feeding frenzy. Sigh It seems this is all I do…


So instead of featuring one of the many projects in the works, I thought I’d share some new photo editing discoveries. I recently got an iPad so once again I’ve taken to scouring for apps (something I really should do more often). I came across one called Snapseed, which came highly recommended. It’s similar to Instagram with a few more editing capabilities. The photo above was taken with my iPad and edited with Snapseed. I’d have to agree with those 5 star reviews thus far. I’m impressed. I like the ability to share too, although they really should add WordPress to the list of options. Keep in mind I still prefer and recommend using a real camera (like my Canon EOS xSi), but in a pinch these other options are nice to have!

Hopefully, I’ll be back tomorrow with a real project to share!

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Excuse me while I stare endlessly at my latest creation!

I haven’t abandoned this blog, I’ve just been busy with an entirely different sort of DIY project.

On April 12, we welcomed a daughter into our family and I can’t stop staring, snuggling and capturing her every move!  Let me formally introduce you to EllaMae Sandra…

Our family has indeed grown by 2 feet! For those who were guessing she was born Thursday April 12 @ 5:07 PM weighing 7 lbs 15.5 oz, and measuring 19.5 inches long.  If you want her birth story details you’ll need to head over to my personal blog (Enjoying Life).

Life with 2 kids is definitely different, but I will say that I feel like we have the best life ever.  My Boys (husband, 2-year-old son, and 4-year-old dog-child) have taken quite a liking to little miss EllaMae.  I think we’re all a little smitten with this princess 🙂

I do have a few projects to share and plan to get back to my regularly scheduled blogging in the next few days!


Filed under Inspiration, Photography

Break-up {Picnik}

Ever have one of those tools that just makes your heart skip a beat.  You can’t imagine life without it!  As a photographer, Picnik has been my little heart-throb for some time.  We became friends a little over a year ago, when she took my photo-editing woes and transformed them into a spotlight feature, making life more beautiful, simplified and meaningful.  I may have invested a whole $24.98 into her magical-ness, but to me it was worth every cent of photo-editing genious-ness. Imagine my despair when I received the email straight from Picnik that they were closing.  Seriously?!?!  (by the way- who breaks up with their crush in an email!!?!?!?)

Official Announcement: Picnik is closing
Since joining Google in 2010, we have been creating editing magic in Google products while continuing to keep Picnik awesome. But now we get to focus on even awesomer things. Picnik will be closing on April 19, 2012

I fell like my life as a blogger and photo-editing whiz has been crushed to the ground.  Okay maybe not, but literally, I love picnik so much.  Look at all the easy and beautiful things they’ve helped me create…

For homemade Christmas 2011 I created a 4×6 photo print book of all the things my son and his cousins were grateful to my parents for.  Here’s a sneak peek at a few pages.  Seriously this was 100% Picnik elements compiled into an amazingly easy and fabulous project!

And then there are all the super simple blog buttons that I’ve created through Picnik {Sigh…rather Gasp of panic}

Not to mention the special edition buttons that I’ve made to coordinate with blog projects…

And even a few headers…(Hmm, look familiar?)

I even designed my own Photo Christmas Card with Picnik this year!

Ah, the memories.  All I have to say is “Google, you better have something truly amazing up your sleeve.  You have sent me into a very sad and lonely place.”

On the bright side, Picnik is offering EVERYONE the benefits of a Premium membership until they close on April 19th, and have created some pretty fabulous tools to download all of your amazing works very easily.  So go to Picnik NOW. Slurp up all the amazing features you can.  So what are my top 10 favorite Premium features that you MUST try between now and April 19th.  Here you go (in no particular order)!

1. Vibrance (under Edit-Effects) complete color amazing-ness.  Almost always a first step!

2. Clone (under touch up) Have something really distracting in your background? Clone a different part of your picture and paint over the distraction.  Can’t tell you how many times this has saved me!

3. Airbrush (under touch up) not that I want everyone to look like a model, but funky lighting can make your image look funny, even gritty somethings.  Airbrush makes everything looks smoother.  For a stronger version use the wrinkle remover.  You’ll never need to iron again (or at least until April 19th).

4.  Sunless Tan/ Blush (under touch up) does you subject need a little color.  Add the perfect hues to your washed out subject without completely making them look fake!

5. Curves – Beyond all the other amazing pre-made effects for you, Curves lets you customize your effects by playing with the RGB format of your picture.  No worries, it’s safe to play…there is always an undo and cancel button that is just one-click away.

6. Stickers – pretty much the whole tab offers about 760,000 opportunities for creativity.  Most of my Thank You album was made using stickers.  A few of my favorites are in the sketchy themes and occasionally a few of the holidays.

7. Text – okay it never was a premium feature, but you still need to check out just HOW easy it is to add text to your photos or works of art.

8. SEASONAL TAB! Yes, I’m yelling….there are so many features that are not found anywhere else.  It’s like their little secret magical treasure that you just got the key to.  Go play.

9 & 10.  I just gave you a few assignment, in the unlikely event that you are still reading this message, a few others that I like (that are necessary Premium features) are Cross Process, and most of the collage features. Note: To create a collage you need to choose collage before you edit your picture, go to the home page/start to find it!

If you are experiencing a similar response to the Picnik announcement, OR if you know of other tools like Picnik that aren’t breaking up with us on April 19th that are cheap and easy to fall in love with…comment below.  Perhaps we can start a support group.  In the meantime, hold your head high.  You still create beauty in all that you do 🙂

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Filed under Blog Love, Inspiration, Photography

Project 2012- LOVE story package giveaway!

Much of my life is a juggling act, and so new year’s resolutions  just aren’t something I do.  Not that I don’t have goals, ideas, or one massive and ever-growing list of things I want “to-do,” just seems as I’ll be on track to cross off about 20 things off the list, and then BAM-something like a baby decides to show her beautiful face.  Or as the case was in 2011, it was time for the long-procrastnated-and-very-much-needed-shoulder-surgery.  Turns out a complete overhaul on your dominant shoulder sets you back a few months.  The mad rush of projects that got done the week before surgery was pretty much amazing, but then floundering through 4 months of therapy and recognizing what would never be again changed my outlook on a few things.

Looking ahead I have a few ideals that I’m kicking into action this month, with hopes to get as much done before April as possible.  I have decided that 2012 is going to be my year of “Intentional Living.”  What does that mean?  For me, it means I’m going to be much more deliberate in choosing projects that fit into our life so I can balance the life of a working mother.  It means I need to decide what my employment options really are. Blogging is my sanity, not my job.  I inspire to create and share and if I make a few dollars (literally $3) it adds a smile to my face, because truly this blog is my inspiration to Foster a Creative Life, without creative projects to “play” with, I feel drab and boring.  Even the husband appreciates my inspiration to switch things up and try some pretty creative projects.  I’m just fortunate that I have the vision and he has many handy skills to help make my ideas a reality!  My REAL job is one big question…the time, the politics, the workload never seem to lighten the stress load on a working mother.  Adding another child in April won’t make life easier, and it’s not feasible for our household to operate on one income (yet).  Currently I’m exploring what options and opportunities are available- and I’ll just leave it at that for now.

Which brings me to MY Business.  In 2011, I started Little-d-Tales LLC {Photography and Design} and have fallen in love with the work I do….and I totally didn’t mean for that to come across as conceited and arrogant, so forgive me if that’s how you read it.  I’ve decided to launch a few major projects as part of my Intentional Living aspirations for 2012.  The first is a LOVE Story package.  The vision of my business is to help capture the moments that create the stories of your life.  That means the entire story from shoot to publication, all custom design around your comforts, desires and stories.  Just yesterday I announced that I am GIVING away a Love Story Package to a deserving couple/family ($600 value).  To see all the details and application, click on the button below.

LoveStory button

If you would please share with others I would greatly appreciate it.   I truly want to offer something meaningful to a family/couple who would like their story documented.  While I’m located in Wisconsin (yes one of 7 creative bloggers in the Midwest) I would be willing to negotiate travel for the right applicant!

Stay tuned…lots of intentional living projects to Foster a Creative life in the works 🙂

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Desisn your own Photocards in Picnik Tutorial

Let me start by saying that is you haven’t seen the gazillion tutorials for all the amazing things picnik can do you are missing out.  I also might add that while there are plenty of free options I am a premium member, and to me it’s well worth the money! Here is my creation in Picnik that I’ll be walking you through. I ordered 65 cards for less than $20 (with shipping)!

1. To start open picnik and upload any pictures that you wish to use. Make sure if you want to do any edit or frames you do it to each individual picture and save them.  All of your saved changes will show up in your picnik “History”
2. Go back to your Home tab, and click on the “Collage” section at top of the page.
3. It doesn’t matter which collage you choose since we’ll be customizing it.  What does matter is that you determine the background color and the proportions in the left column about two-thirds the way down. You can choose your background color by clicking on the spacing color box.  There is a color picker tool if you want to grab a color from something else or if you know the color graphic number.  The proportions are a bit tricky.  Obviously a 50:50 proportion is a perfect square, and a 40:60 is a 4×6.  After that to me it’s a crap-shoot.

4. If you want to add a picture choose a collage layout you like.  For my example I used one of the basic layouts, proportions are 60:40 and my spacing color is black.  To insert a picture, at the bottom right of the screen you will see a “Photo Bucket” with a drop down arrow.  Click on that.  If you don’t see the picture you were looking for, click on “Get from Computer drop-down arrow” and “History” will show up.  This will display all the pictures you have worked on in Picnik.  Select your picture, then drag and drop into the frame you want to fill.

5. Everything else we will be customizing, so click on the “Done” button in the top right of your screen.  This will take you to the home editing screen. Here you can pay with adding text, adding stickers, you name it it.  I’ll walk you through the step I used to create our card, but just know the possibilities are endless.

6.  For my card, I went onto the “Featured” tab.  If you go to the bottom they have Seasonal, and then Holiday options. They have some super cool options, like a snowflake frame with “Winterize” option- which doesn’t work for this picture, but I can already see how cut that would look on a picture of some kiddos in the snow.  I would add it to the individual picture before the collage too, then you could match the background color to blend in with the snowflakes.  You can change the color of the snowflakes too when you are selecting the snowflake frame.

I digress, I actually went with the “Holiday Textures” and choose the sparkling Christmas Tree.  You’ll notice this puts the tree right over our picture.

Simply click on the horizontal shift button to move it to the other side.

And you get this…I also “faded” the frame a little with the frame edit toolbar to help lighten the contrast for the text.

I also wanted to feature a picture of my little man smiling, so again I clicked on the “photo bucket” on the bottom of the page and chose a picture from my “History.”  You can choose to put the picture anywhere on your page you also can change size & rotate, but that is all the options you get, hence it’s important to edit your picture the way you want before creating the collage, or you can go back and make modifications to them and save your work here.

Last step, Click on the text tab at the top and type in the text you’d like to appear.  I choose to have 2 separate text boxes, one with a greeting and one with our name.  One thing to keep in min during this process is what print size are you planning to make.  Most digital prints don’t fit in a standard print size.  For example a 5×7 is wider and shorter than a 4×6 and so on.  So make adjustments to your picture accordingly to prepare for that.  I created my proportions as a 4×6 so I should be good.

The best thing about this is you can save and print anywhere as a regular old print.  I ordered my prints straight through picnik (With Qoop) and am receiving 65 prints for less than $20…shipping included!
Hope this tutorial was helpful.

Join us for more homemade holidays features until December 23rd with the…


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Filed under DIY Projects, Gift of Thrift, Inspiration, Photography, Tutorials