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Monday, July 28, 2014

Preparing for a Newborn Photo Shoot

When a new mom finds out she's expecting, she starts preparing for the baby by planning and organizing a nursery.  When a new aunt finds out she's expecting a niece or nephew, she starts preparing for the baby by planning and organizing a photo shoot.  Or maybe that's just me! 

The only newborns I've ever photographed have been my niece and nephew, so since I don't have a lot of experience with it, I started researching.  Here is a summary of the basics I learned:

  • 7-14 days old is optimal - you want them sleepy and position-able
  • It's best to go to the newborn's home
  • The temperature should be nice and warm (you can use space heaters or heating pads, just don't let either have contact with the baby's skin)
  • Don't use a flash - it can trigger a baby's startle reflex and upset them
  • Find natural light in the baby's home and just experiment with what works best
  • You're on the baby's time schedule - if he or she needs to eat or be swaddled or changed in between takes, that is the first priority
Then comes the fun part - start collecting backdrops, props and accessories.  For the backdrops - simple black and white.  I gathered a white presentation board, black fabric and a vinyl square that looks like old wood flooring that I found on Etsy by PeekPrints which is really cool!  

A behind the scenes look at the vinyl:

For background accessories - find chunky, textured items - baskets, blankets and hats should all have great texture.  I found two different chunky woven baskets and several blankets, some really soft and some really textured.  I used the Fabric Strip Backdrop that I made for the baby shower to create a fabric bed and it turned out very successful.

fabric strip prop newborn photo shoot, fabric strip nest for baby photo shoot

For props - I found an adorable hat on Etsy at SparkleBabyCouture and I was very impressed with this shop.  Hats for boys, hats and headbands for girls.

My nephew's nursery theme was teddy bears, so he had received several bears as gifts.  We took an adorable shot of him surrounded by bears. 

newborn photo shoot props
I also found vintage blocks to spell his name, at an antique store.
antique blocks, blocks in newborn photo
Do you have any other tips for a successful newborn photo shoot? 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Unique Bracelet Components - Sequins and Paper

My boss brought me this bracelet from Turks & Caicos and I love that some of the beads are made from paper. 
I love the novelty of it and the idea that a piece of paper can become a wearable piece of  jewelry.  So I set out to make my own paper beads.
paper bead bracelet, DIY paper bead bracelet

For this project you'll need:
paper (12x12 scrapbook or magazines)
mod podge & foam brush
scissors, pencil, ruler
elastic thread

On your paper make looooong thin trapezoids (you can make triangles, but I like the look of the beads better with trapezoids). 

This is what I mean by loooong thin trapezoids. 
Your lines should look like this all the way across the page.
Cut out the trapezoids and roll each one tightly around the skewer, starting with the larger end.  Glue
with mod podge, every few inches.  Then seal the smaller end down with mod podge and let dry.  I added clear nail polish, but I think mod podge is sufficient.
Then you are ready to design your bracelet.  Thread your beads onto your elastic thread and tie a knot when it's the right size.
Once my paper beaded bracelet was done, I decided I needed a few more bracelets to make a set!
how to make paper beads, beads from scrapbook paper, upcycled bracelet
To make a sequin bracelet - you need fine motor skills and time. And patience. And sequins.

I threaded my sequins directly onto the elastic thread, but I think it would be easier if you had a needle (none of mine had eye openings large enough for my elastic thread to fit through). 
I thought it turned out really pretty and unique!

bracelet from sequins, blingy bracelet, colorful bracelet

Monday, July 14, 2014

Two Easy Toddler Dresses

Dress 1:

Walking through JoAnn Fabric, I discovered mock smock fabric.  It was so pretty and The Little Mermaid always reminds me of my red-headed, two-year old niece.  I thought it looked so easy to turn into a dress!  The most difficult part was having to guess her measurements.  It really was an easy project - just sew right sides together and add straps - and it looks adorable on Hadley!

how to sew a mock smock dress, ariel dress

Dress 2: 

When I found some lavender knit fabric at Goodwill, I decided to make a new Easy Toddler Dress, like the one that I made for Hadley a year ago.  I had a little bit of trouble following my own instructions, so I am going to re-state some of them!

Step 1:  Measure the bottom of the tank top.  Take the width x 2 to get the circumference.  Then take that measurement x 2 to get enough fabric to make the skirt ruffled.  So the width of the 4T tank I used was 11 inches.  Total circumference was 22 inches.  Total length of fabric needed: 44 inches.  The width of the fabric needed can be adjusted, based on how long you want the dress to end up.  I think 6 inches seems to be about right, so you need [# of inches x 2 + 1].  Since I wanted 6 inches, I doubled that (12in.) and added one inch for two 1/2 inch margins at the top. (APPROXIMATELY - I don't really worry about measurements!)

Summary of Step 1:  My fabric was cut to 13 x 44 inches.

Step 2:  Fold the width in half and sew the short ends together to form a circle with an unfinished top.

Step 3:  Sew the unfinished top, with your widest stitch setting.  Do not backstitch.  Leave your strings long.  Once sewn, pull the bottom string to create a ruffle.
If this part looks easy, then the picture is misleading.  It takes awhile and you have to constantly pull the string, then move the gathers down the length of the fabric.

Step 4:  Pin right sides together (of the tank and the circle of knit fabric and sew along the already stitched line.

Dress is almost finished:

Step 5:  Adding a flower at the top MAKES this dress - it's a must!  The pictures and instructions I did previously, found here Easy Toddler Dress are actually very helpful.

how to sew a toddler dress

I like this dress because it's so comfy and cool.  It looks adorable, but is inexpensive and washable enough that it can be played in.

Isn't my niece the cutest?!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Sock Puppets

Ok, normally I would be the first one making fun of sock puppets, but my 2 year old niece has started putting socks on her hands for fun and I thought she would really enjoy having a face on them!
how to make sock puppets, cute sock puppets
For this project you'll need:
long fuzzy socks (check Goodwill - I found mine for 29¢)
cardboard (the kind you can find in your kitchen - granola bar box, cereal box, brownie mix box)
felt (for the inside of the mouth, whatever color you choose)
hot glue gun
pom poms
googly eyes (optional)

Step 1:  Cut off the toe of the sock.

Step 2: Make an oval felt-cardboard-felt sandwich approximately 3 x 4.5in. by hot gluing felt to both sides of the cardboard.

Step 3:  Fold the oval sandwich in half and hot glue it into the open toe end of the sock.
For the second one I made, I used foam, rather than the felt and cardboard for the mouth - both work well, the foam is more flexible.

Step 4:  Using your glue gun, add eyes, nose, ears and any other feature you want.
DIY sock puppets

DIY dino sock puppet, cute sock puppet

DIY sock puppet
Step 5:  Have fun playing!
We named them Petunia (left) and Buster (right)!

Hadley had fun putting them on her feet! 

No picture, but we had the best time having the puppets try to eat a straw paper and Hadley pulling it out of their mouths! 



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