Thursday, June 16, 2011


Visit my website here for some fantastic CTMH "while supplies last" deals!  Just a few examples:


$12.95    $4.00    69 % off


$8.95    $2.00    78 % off


$4.95    $1.00    80 % off


$5.95    $1.50    75 % off

These are just a few of the many examples of this great sale!!  Be sure to get yours before they're gone! 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's Officially Summer!!

Just came in from outside, "helping" hubby turn the sprinklers on.  (I'm sure he would beg to differ -- "supervising" might be more accurate!)  But, as he turned on the sprinklers in the back yard, both dogs were out, watching.  Sadie, our black lab, is normally very shy and doesn't like to get wet (unless it's a lake she can jump into), so imagine our surprise when she all but grabbed Syd (our chocolate lab) by the collar and dragged her out to play in the sprinklers!!  It was priceless -- I would have come in to get the camera, but knew if I did they would follow me, so hubby and I just stood and laughed and enjoyed the moment with our crazy girls, as they romped and chased each other through the water.  Though this was taken at the dog park, here's an idea of what they're looking like right now:

Soaked to the skin, but loving every minute of it!!  :)  I guess that means that summer is officially here!  Namaste, my friends!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lifestyle Photography Class -- Assignment #4

So, here we are, on our final assignment for my Lifestyle Photography class with the amazing and talented Brooke Snow.  I'm so sad to see it end!  I have learned so much the past month, though I know I have much more to learn (not the least of which, according to my husband, is to learn not to get so frustrated so easily)!  The other ladies in my class are all so very talented -- I've learned a lot from them, as well.  I look forward to practicing with my camera, getting more comfortable with it and with the concept of telling a story with my photos, rather than just taking the "say cheese" or "smile" posed pictures.   


Week 4

Part One: Thematic and Conceptual Shooting

This week we want to focus on telling a story in a single image and intentionally creating a “message” with the image.  

My sweet husband, Mike, who is supporting me on this photography journey, is nothing if not an outdoors-man!  He absolutely LOVES to be outside, in nature, whether warm or cold, sunny or stormy, day or night.  We had gone up to Park City today to finish up my assignments, and just enjoy a beautiful spring day together.  I captured this as he was standing on a bridge, overlooking a small stream that was swollen and fast-running with our rather impressive spring runoff!  I have the camera balanced on the rail or the bridge, looking down at him.  I love the bokeh, and the leading line pointing directly to him. I think this picture portrays enjoyment and relaxation.  I would love to know what feeling you get from it!  Does it tell a story for you? 

Part Two: Getting in your pictures

Post one self portrait image.  Set the timer, use a remote, or hand the camera to someone else.

Yes, dear hubby got to be behind the camera on this one.  And can I just say, barf.  I mean, he took a great picture, I just wish I wasn't in it!!  :/  I don't like having my picture taken, because I'm SO not photogenic!  But, as a scrapbooker, I do realize the importance of not only being behind the camera, but also in some of the images so future generations will know who I was, as well, like it or not!  

Many thanks and much love, again, to Brooke and to my fellow students.  I have learned so much from all of you!!  I wish you well on your photography journeys, and hope we can stay in touch!  Namaste!

Lifestyle Photography Class -- Assignment #3

Oh, my goodness!  This was the difficult week, as we were home for my brother-in-law's funeral; however, I was able to spend time with my sweet great-niece, which gave me my great decisive moment, as well as visit one of Wyoming's natural wonders -- Pathfinder Dam, which, when overflowing, creates a 200 foot waterfall.  I had fun this week trying to find contrast and capture it in my photos.  I hope you enjoy them!


Week 3

Part One: Conceptual Contrast

The contrast of subject elements within our frame, such as big vs. small, wet vs. dry, dark vs. light, man vs. nature, old vs. young, or a million other options. Please post three images.  Your contrast can be the same in all three, or it can be different, but I want to see your creativity with the use of Point of View and make sure you use the Less is More principle by having nothing but the story in the picture

Free vs. restrained

Near vs. far, dark vs. light, left vs. right

Man vs. nature 
(ie., the dam is man-made, trying to hold back the force of nature)

Part Two: The Decisive Moment

The Decisive Moment is that rare moment in which the composition of a photo and the message or emotion of the scene reach an apex. Shoot something meaningful to you that you love.  But you only get three shots.  How does this limitation help you consider composition, point of view, framing, and of course, the timing of your image more than the ability to continuously fire?  Please post your ONE favorite of the three shots.

Trust me, this was a very decisive moment!  Miss Penny, my great-niece, is at that age where she's afraid of strangers, and is definitely a mama's girl!  Getting her to stop crying, much less smile, while I was watching her was nothing short of a miracle!  LOL!  But, she LOVED my camera, so I got lucky.  We had been playing peek-a-boo, and then went for a little walk outside, stopping by my truck to get the camera.  When we came indoors, I put her in her boppy (this little C-shaped pillow), and waited.  Playing peek-a-boo, once again, this time using the camera, I was able to finally get a little smile!   For this, waiting was worth it!  :)  Isn't she gorgeous?  

Thanks for checking out my pictures this 'week.'  :)  One more post to go!  As always, comments are welcomed -- please let me know what you think!  Namaste!

Lifestyle Photography Class -- Assignment #2

So, with everything going on in our lives the past couple of weeks, I am WAY behind on my photography class homework!  Tomorrow we submit our last week, so you'll be seeing three posts in quick succession as I rush to get everything in.  This Lifestyle Photography class, taught by Brooke Snow has been absolutely wonderful, but BOY, do I still have a lot of learning to do!!  I'm getting more and more comfortable shooting in manual, but this lifestyle concept is completely new to me.  I find myself frustrated when I have a specific idea in mind and it doesn't pan out.  Need to work on that!  Anyhoo, on to my second week of assignments!

Part One: Point of View

Shoot something/someone you love to photograph and take your best shot.  Now… look at that shot good and hard.  Create 20 more images from a different Point of View. Please post your first shot (the initial reaction shot) and your 3 additional favorite perspectives. 

For part one, I chose a trip to one of our local libraries, as I love books and have loved to read since I was a small child!  I was in just one small portion of the library, as I didn't want to intrude on anyone -- but it just happened to be this little nook with this amazing wall of windows!  Perfect for natural lit shots.  So, the first picture is one of one of the aisles of books; the others are from different points of views, including framing and an aerial perspective.  


Part Two: Less is More

Photograph a scene (with or without people).  Now break that scene down into as many smaller scenes as possible, reducing until you can’t reduce any further.  Please post your first shot of the scene and 3 additional shots from the reduction exercise.  

For part two, I went to our local farmer's market.  This was one of those examples I talked about above where I had a very specific shot list in mind, and then had most of them 'shot' down, as there weren't very many veggies out yet!!  I was so frustrated, as I had envisioned lovely pictures of ripe fruits and vegetables for my  "smaller scenes."  Instead, I ended up with a few that were perhaps more telling of the actual farmers market, which also includes an arts and crafts market, as well (my favorite!)  It's also the only place I've seen that has valet bicycle parking!  :)

Anyway, thank you for looking this 'week,' and I appreciate any feedback you're willing to leave!  Namaste!

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Hunting we will Go!

SO!  It appears it's time for me to find a job.  A different job -- a "real" job, some would say, outside the home.  I love being home, but find that it also is actually cutting INTO my creative time, because I am HORRIBLE at time management.  I do much better with it when I have less of it to manage!  LOL!  Plus, we have a few bills that it would be nice to get paid off faster, which a little extra income will help with. 

So, I've applied for a few jobs.  Well, the first thing I had to do was find my resume (thank goodness for memory sticks!) as it has been 10 or more years since I've updated it.  O_o  I know.  YIKES.  But, resume found, updated, and job search started. 

I just had to share that I surprised myself -- haven't lost the touch!  I went in yesterday to take a data entry test for one of the positions I applied for.  Now, keep in mind, it's been over 10 years since I've done any real data entry.  Typing, yes, strict data entry, no.  BUT!  Passing was 5072 KPH (that's keystrokes per hour).  I passed with flying colors -- at 12948 KPH with 98% accuracy.  OOH-rah, as they say in the Marines!   Now, just to learn to patiently wait to hear back from them!!  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How Can I Help You to Say Goodbye?

Have you heard that song? Patty Loveless sang it.  I have a hard time with goodbyes.  I don't like them.  In fact, I'm terrible at them.  Doesn't matter if my husband is going to work for the day, or if my sister - in - law is moving to England for 5 years.  I just hate goodbyes.  Changing it to "See ya later" doesn't work, either.  And I found out last week, as I have once each year for the past four years, that it's especially hard when the goodbye is being said to a loved one who has passed away.  This time is especially hard, as it was unexpected.  We got a call Wednesday, May 25th that my brother-in-law had died in a motorcycle accident.  No one else involved, just Jeremy (my BIL) and a crotch-rocket.  Just him and the bike.  No helmet, excessive speed.  And of course, we'll never know why.  It's so sad.  He was only 33.  I had to watch his 10 y/o daughter and 9 y/o son sob because their dad is gone.  I had to watch my father-in-law say goodbye to his youngest son.  My husband and sister-in-law say goodbye to their little brother.  And all so senseless.

Handsome man, yes?   He was so full of life.  So adventuresome.  So soft-hearted.  I'll be honest.  He'd made bad choices in his life.  Spent some time in prison.  But he was out, clean, working, making amends -- learning to be the father, son, and brother he was meant to be.  Making something of himself.  So, why now?  Just when things were looking up?  I can't explain it.  I just have to trust.  After all, I know where he lives now, and Who he lives with.  We'll meet again one day.  Until then . . . rest in peace, sweet Jerm.  We love you. 

Studio J -- Free for All!

So, you've heard, or rather, read, about me promoting our online scrapbooking program, Studio J.  And you've seen some of the layouts I've done, as well.  (If you haven't, click on "Studio J" under labels and it will take you right to them!) And I'll share another couple, right here!

 And now, during the month of June, you get to try it.  FREE.  NO STRINGS ATTACHED.  Actually, you get to MORE than try it.  During our Studio J® Free-for-All in June, we're giving everyone a FREE Studio J® JPG file—no purchase required! Simply log on to Studio J®, create a layout, then order one JPG file of your layout. It's as easy as that! Download and save your file so you can post your layout online, email it to family and friends, or print them. If you don't have an account, creating one is easy. You can access Studio J® through my website or at 

What are you waiting for??  Try it today!  Not sure where to start?  Check out Close to My Heart's Studio J Tutorial:

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly!  I'd love to sit down with you and help you out!

June Stamp of the Month!

Just had to let you in on the cute new stamp of the month for June -- JUBILATION!!!  It's amazing, because it has a little something for EVERY MONTH!  Great for cards, tags, layouts, this set is very versatile -- and you can earn it for FREE!  Just look at this cute artwork!
Here is the complete set:

As always, YOU determine what you pay for it!!  If you order up to $25 in product, you get it for 25% off; $50, 50% off; $75, 75% off, and, yes, if you spend $100 you get your set absolutely FREE!!  Visit my website here and place your order today!