Part of the reason I haven't consistently been blogging is because I was filling my free time with another thing I love-- photography.
The time has come (now that all is edited and stored) for me to share shots from the shoots I've done over the past 6 months. I'll post my favorites... not necessarily the favorites of those in the shots. :)
So buckle up, and prepare to set forth on a chronological journey of my portraiture I've done since I finished my class last spring (I blogged about that class here.) I'll put up several posts of photography over the next few weeks.
First up, my sweet niece Lana. Here's my favorite shots from her 2 year old photo shoot in June. Aren't her blonde curls and sweet smile irresistable? And she and her mama Shelle are so sweet together, too.
Yeah, I haven't been here lately... blogging has been pushed to the back burner after I added 30+ hours of work per week a few months ago. But I still think/act upon some crafty impulses and want to share them here!
I wanted to decorate my office. I found a Bazzill paper line that was just adorable and so I created a few items for the office.
Mod Podged some pattern paper onto canvases...
I dotted the red centers with Stickles and painted the sides of the canvas black too.
Created a LOVE banner w/ photos of my family...
And add a few coordinating accessories... voila! A cozy, personalized office space.
And when I got my nameplate and biz card, it truly felt official! :)
Love my workspace, and love my job. Only downside: restricts my blogging time. :) I'll still try to visit once in awhile. So don't assume I'm gone!
I feel like I've tried a thousand "plans" and none have exactly worked.
But this chore chart is different: it's pretty likely to work (for us... but not necessarily for you).
Here's why. We've already been doing the chores for at least a year. They just haven't been charted until now. Mom just did lots of reminding, and my hopes are that my kids who can read (well, 2 of the 3) will read their reminders now that they're all prettied up and hanging on the wall!
I think there's two reasons y'all are here looking at this post.
1. You are motivated to make a pretty chore chart. I'm all for papercrafting pretty, but even a pretty plan may not work. (Trust me, I've been making "plans" for at least 7 years now... and I'm just now feeling good about the current plan!)
2. You are motivated to find a plan that works for your family. I'll share mine and hope you can take something from it. But if it doesn't work for you, don't give up. Tweak it and try again!
First, the PRETTY details.
I used a dollar store poster board and cut it into three pieces for my three kids. (In hindsight, I'd pick a colored one instead of white next time). I used this as a great chance to use up some of my jinormous chipboard letters that were mismatched and big fat ribbon remnants that weren't suitable for scrapping.
The clothespins were decorated by my girls w/ fabric, sequins, wooden hearts, and glass flat sided marbles (what are those things really called???). They loved to participate in the project!
I printed the actual chore sections on colored paper and plan to make tweaks to the plan and re-print as necessary.
The purpose of the clothespins is simply to hold the stack of 7 days pages to the chart. But my original idea was to place them all on one side of the chart and as the kids completed tasks they could move them to the opposite side of the chart. Maybe that would work for you!
And now, the actual PLAN and CHORES I have set up for my kids.
(Not sure if it's big enough for you to read, but I'll give you a general overview.)
Some tasks we've been doing for many years (i.e. brush teeth, pick out clothes, homework, backpack ready). This is just a reminder.
I have three sections: 1. Before School, 2. After School, and 3. Ready for school tomorrow? (i.e. just before bedtime).
Before school tasks are: breakfast, get dressed, shoes and backpack on, and brush teeth.
After school tasks are: homework, AWANA verses, 20 minutes of reading, piano practice (for Sadie) and 10 minute cleanup.
10 Minute Cleanup has been the most successful chore plan I've had over the years. Before the 10 minute clean up plan when I'd set specific chores, I felt like the things that really needed to get done were being neglected (i.e. the chore was dusting, yet the family room was two feet deep in toys, books and stuffed animals.) Now the kids just know that after dinner mom will assign a 10 minute cleanup to each child of stuff that NEEDS TO BE DONE. It has been glorious, people!!! (I have had to let go of how well a job gets done and just be pleased that they tried and are learning the discipline of helping out around the house.)
The big change for my charts here is that I've now assigned specific tasks back to the 10 minute cleanups (vacuum, sweep, tidy a room, wipe down bathroom, laundry, wash windows/mirrors, dust, trash and recycling). We'll test this plan for awhile to see how it works, but I may head back to an unspecific 10 minute cleanup each night if this doesn't truly help me in my housecleaning duties.
So, why do I have 7 pages versus the same plan for each day? I have also added in the "extras" of "pack your piano bag, gymnastics outfit, AWANA vest, etc" on the appropriate days based on our regular activities. I also give them a day off of chores on Wednesdays (see, I'm not a total slave driver! :)
There are also a few chores we rotate each day: 1. Feed Zeke (the guinea pig), get the mail, lead the dinner prayer, 2. Set the table, 3. Clear the table. This started w/ them fighting over who got to get the mail, so they each got two turns a week. Now they complain over who HAS to get the mail... but it still gets done because they're used to the task by now! :) Three kids x 2 days a week= 6 days. Mom gets day 7. For all three chores.
The Ready for School Tomorrow? section: Homework done, backpack ready, lunches prepared and outfit picked out.
What a long post! I didn't realize I had so much to say about it, and I also didn't realize so many of my friends were interested in how I make it work. I sincerely hope that SOMEHOW this inspires you and that you can make it work for your family. Come back and let me know!
So, what looks most appealing to you? Which element of this would work best for your family? Is there something new that you haven't considered as you've made your chore plans? I'd love to know!
Okay, so I couldn't wait for "Wordless Wednesday" to be over... I gotta share!
My son just checked the mail and brought me what I have been waiting for... the July/August issue of Creating Keepsakes Magazine.
You got it too? Great! Go grab it and turn to page 65...
There's my layout! The second layout I've had published in CK. Second time's a charm, right?
I needed this good news today. I'm struggling. And I needed this boost to remind me that I have something of value to share with the world. At least the scrapbooking world. :)
Sending a shout out to the sweet niece of mine in the photo... Miss Mya! She's almost three now! You can see more about her and her family on their blog and you can read more about this layout in a past post here. And thanks to Brea at Cye Photography for agreeing to let her portrait of Mya be published! Doesn't she do beautiful work?
My final Photography 101 assignment was a group photo. I was lucky enough to shoot a lovely family whose little girl you may recognize from a previous post. :)
Here's the assignment shot straight out of the camera. (All of my assignment shots have been posted here SOC--straight out of the camera. Anytime I take photos, I make edits to them prior to posting. These assignment shots are my only exception.)
And you can hear my audio comment from Candice by clicking HERE.
(P.S. Today is Tuesday. The last photo I took was almost a week ago. I've officially taken a break! I even scrapped a little last night... more to share later!)
This last week's portraiture assignment was to photograph someone from a specific age group. I chose children-- partly because I had a perfect model in mind! :)
My sweet middle child offered to have her picture taken... a couple hundred times. :) I got some really fun shots of Allison and picked the following shot to turn in for my assignment:
And if you're interested, you can listen to to what Candice has to say about the shot here.
And, I have to share a few more of my favorites here too because like I said, we took hundreds! :) The shot above is SOC (straight out of the camera), and the ones below I edited in Photoshop Elements.
Remember my Friday Fave Photo of Sadie? It was for my assignment for my portraiture class. Just last night Candice Stringham commented on my photo for the side lighting assignment in class. I actually got a better review than I expected!
If you're interested, you can hear what she said about my photo here.
And if you care, here's the technical info on the shot:
This is my 10 year old, Sadie. We used a white posterboard for a reflector. I shot in aperture priority.
Camera: Nikon D40
Shutter speed: 1/200
Focal Length: 40 mm (35 mm equiv. 60 mm)
Did I mention I love this class and I'm so excited to learn more and more about photography? ;)
We are learning how to use window lighting in Portraiture 101 this week. I haven't gotten any recent good shots of my sweet Sadie, so I asked her to be my model. :) She did a great job!
Sweet girl-- when she would smile, her eyes would close! :) We decided to do a more serious pose so that we could see her beautiful brown eyes.
And speaking of eyes, we took off her glasses, too! Doesn't she look different? She couldn't focus on me or her left eye would have been crossed. Here's a shot w/ her glasses on:
It definitely looks like her! But the reflection in her glasses practically shows our whole neighborhood. :) I decided to focus (no pun intented) on the lighting portion of our assignment and leave reflections in glasses for more advanced lessons!