It’s the DYI Hybrid time. Pencil wraps from digi papers!

How fun is that? I have these pencils that I made for my daughter’s back to school fun. I like to decorate her glue sticks with washi tape and now her pencils I made a wrap. Of course the schools  have you buy a ton of them right off the bat and I have to have a ton at home too. So I made this for her pencil jar…


Here is a close up of the wraps using jute and twine to finish them off!  How cute!


Something special for you if you want to give it a try you can download the free printable SAMPLES OF WRAPS to make your own with Juliana and Traci’s kit they made together, as their Future is So Bright.  All you have to do is cut them apart, I used regular copy paper to print them on as cardstock was to think to stick.  ATG away and wrap it up!  Lots of fun goodies in there!

Have tons of fun… until next time…


Hello again, I am back for some more inspiration with Juliana Kneipp’s digital products.  I searched for some word art that she had done, I took these word art elements from a kit and traced them on my Silhouette designer edition software.  Cut them out with a kiss cut on vinyl and added them to some tile I bought at the hardware store for about .19 cents a piece.


I took a roll of cork board (you can get them at craft stores) cut them to the 4×4 size of the tile,  glued it under so it doesn’t hurt the furniture.


Perfect for my family!

I love the word art it always gives me new ideas!  You will see more on the blog next Friday with SnapDragon Snippets. Silhouette store design on my next two coasters!  I may mod podge them to see how well that works too.

Hope this has inspired you!


Hi this is Lissa Marie I am here to show you today a hybrid project that I made with Juliana Kneipp’s, “Camp your Adventure” Digital kit it comes in a bundle or you can buy them separately.  But first of all I want to show you what I have made with this kit!  I found this candy jar at a yard sale thinking I am going to etch something on this but then I was helping out another gal on the blogging team with a project she had planned and got carried away.  I made the shape with the pen tool in Photoshop, then opened up the template (shown below), resized it and clipped it to the shape and started adding in papers and elements! Didn’t it just turn out fabulous?  A little accent of ribbon gave it a pretty look, and printed out some journaling cards so I can have them available as I go, ready to put into the pocket pages!  I do traditional and digital pocket pages, so this is a win win for me!  Have those cards preprinted and write down those moments you don’t want to forget while you are still in the moment and store them for when you are ready to put them with your photos!


This was printed this on photo sticker paper so I can just stick it to the side, but I didn’t realize it wasn’t a flat surface until I had it printed so I used glue dots behind it which worked out just fine!

This is a preview of the whole bundle, it is cram packed full of goodies, printables, pocket cards or a kit with all the papers and goodies.  You can buy them separately or together.


I also used her “alot of photos” template that she had up for iNSD.  I am very pleased the way it turned out.I used the 3rd template shown here


Juliana would love for you to enjoy a printable download provided, I have changed the shape for you since this is not the usual shape you put on a jar or can, to accommodate other types of shaped holders.  You can even use a coffee can if you like.  I have made many pencil holders and such for things like this.   Use your imagination it goes far! You can get even more freebie kits and templates on Julianna’s Blog, she has tons of giveaways if you didn’t already grab them from iNSD!

Happy Hybrid Crafting!

Taking control over your DSLR with these 3 tips.

The first time I touched a DSLR, I was with my sister.  It was back in the film days and she had a nice camera.  I have always loved cameras since I was little.  I saw the kids playing, never had any experience even holding a SLR, I asked if I could take a quick picture of the kids.  As I picked it up she said, “DON”T CHANGE ANYTHING”.  Well she didn’t know enough about the camera to shoot beyond auto mode and thought I might break it if I moved a setting, or wouldn’t know how to fix it.  Soon after, I chose to go forth and learn more, so I know there are many of you out there that do the same thing.  You want the awesome results but don’t know what this camera can do for you if you just learn a couple simple techniques.  I always always always recommend reading the manual but to be honest it is long and boring and sounds foreign to a person that knows nothing about depth of field or aperture.  You will think you got the wrong version of the manual!

So to simplify things.  Let’s break it down into baby steps.

AUTO mode vs, P (program priority) Mode.


In Auto mode you have no control over your flash, it pops up when it read a certain amount of light or you can’t even force it to pop up when you want it to fill in the light.

vs P modeIMG_8570_a

If you set your camera on the P mode you have that option to have your flash on or off.  If you want it on, you will have to push your flash button to make it pop up, it will not pop up on its own for you.  If you have a subject with strong backlighting you will want to pop up the flash in P mode, because you will want to fill the dark areas, or you will get a big shadow with bright highlights for a photograph.  Fill in that dark area by popping up your flash and wala, it will turn out.  Some cameras have the capability to turn down the flash power or you can also diffuse the flash when it is too strong.  Most of the time a piece of tissue works for me for a snapshot rather than messing with my settings and forgot I did so! IMG_8571_a



Auto Mode also chooses your ISO for the scene.  What is ISO you ask?  You can relate ISO  as in your film speed.   Remember the days that you had to go buy film? What speed to I need?  How do I know?  So you read the directions on the box and then you want them all!  Why is your film speed so important?  Because you want to properly expose your photographs with your camera’s capabilities.  Expecting your camera to never have grain taking night shots is not in the past yet, and to minimize the grain you have to know what ISO to use.

Depending on the camera how high or low your ISO will go, I will explain it in terms of film speed

200 is for bright sunny days

400 is for all around indoor outdoor shooting, afternoon

800 later in the evening

1600 defiantly night shots but don’t count on not getting motion blur if you are at the races.

I use 400 as my base starting point and go up or down from there.


You get to set your film speed to the shooting situation you are in right there.  You don’t have to finish the roll of film first before moving on to the next film speed because your lighting situation.  This is why most of the time 400 is a good all around speed, not to harsh not to soft as long as you are staying within your situation’s limitations.  Good thing I got into digital soon or I would have had to have 5 cameras for each film speed!  By being able to change these settings as you are shooting,  your picture quality with the right choices will make or break your photographs when it comes to quality.  If you are truly interested, you should try it.  Take out a piece of fruit or a doll or something outside on your porch where you have plenty of light.  You can practice with the flash experiment.  Play around with your rule of 3rds while you are doing it.  Pick a subject that doesn’t move (like your kids do) to practice to learn the difference.

This is where I find my ISO setting I just push the button and rotate the dial til I get the desired ISO.IMG_8569



In the Auto mode, it automatically picks your white balance.  What is white balance you ask?  Well believe it or not you may have never seen it before but as a photographer it is a learned skill.  Some can naturally detect it some cannot.  Any type of lighting has a color cast.  If you are outdoors in the open shade it is going to be a cool color, such as blue.  If you are under a lamp it may give you a yellow cast.  Flourescent light a green cast, different lighting gives you different effects.  Auto mode chooses this for you.  Does the camera know WHAT kind of light you are using?  Not really.  It can detect it sometimes but when you get your prints back there will be times you will say, “WHY are my prints so green??????” Or blue or yellow… ect.  Each color has a number so you can go by word terms or number terms to know how to expect your final results.  You will see more about this below.


When you are going through your settings in your LCD screen usually it is in the quick button that you can press and see the shooting essentials.  Mine I tap the Q for Quick mode and I will get this first screen, gives me a quick preview of what’s going on.

In the first picture you will see there is a white balance section (highlighted), I press on that button and it will take me to the different lighting situations to the second picture.  You can set the scene for the correct white balance.


Click on this highlighted area that says AWB. These are your options you get.


I have written which does what on each icon, the custom mode and Color temp mode is more for advanced users so we will stick with the basics for now.

Well to sum things up, if you really would like to know the answers to some of your questions on your photographs, ask yourself, did I use the correct ISO, if the color is off, did you use the right white balance.  Although many photographers do use auto white balance.  You do get better results when tending to them as needed.  Should I have filled in the flash.  Or OOOH that is why my flash won’t pop up when needed because it is reading to much light!  FILL that dark area but don’t forget a flash can only go so many feet in front of you, it doesn’t cover a city night scene!

Until next time, practice practice practice then SCRAP IT!  I would love to see it!

Studio J Saturday- Episode 7, Keep your photos looking bright

Welcome to Studio J Saturday.

Showing you the digital online scrapbook software from start to finish so you can have beautiful albums, gifts, wall decor and more with CTMH papers and embellishments this only takes minutes to do a 2 page layout and it is FREE to TRY and NO Software to have to BUY.  Just purchase your layouts and you are done with a great piece of artwork!

If you have missed out on some of the other tutorials or need a refresher you can find them HERE.

Today I want to talk about your photos looking bright.  As a photographer I had to learn how to see my photos to learn how to edit them, and make them look more professional.   Look closely and see how would you like your images to go from looking like this to …




There are some calibration tools out there that you can use to match your prints exactly to the printer or if you even have any version of Photoshop you could look up how to use Adobe Gamma but if you don’t, for now I would set my monitors contrast to its highest level and dim down the brightness and make sure it is on RGB setting or 5200 K for the color temp.  You do this on the monitor screen it’s self.  I do this in complete darkness in the room and I never approve a layout next to a bright window.  Didn’t think there was such a thing as a digital darkroom??  Why yes there is!  Just not as messy!

First of all Studio J has a mini editor in the software too.  See the guy just below with the red, green and blue bar?  This is your photo editor.toolbox

 Click on the editor and you will see many options.  Today I will talk about brightening your photos.  Sometimes it is easy to look at the pictures and not really notice it until you get a group of them together that the exposures are different.  Or once you have your layout printed that all the photos are just to dark.   Well here is the solution!

There are 4 main things I focus on in an editor.  Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness and Zooming in on it all while working with these tools.

editor  I took each photo into the editor and brightened them by .1 or .2, I do color by number not by the slider, depending on the photo is how much I will add.  Usually if your exposure isn’t way off that is all you will need because if you go to far, you will lose detail or sometimes you may just need to bump up the contrast.   You don’t want to do too much at once, or it will not print right.  Pay attention to the details where the focus of the image is.  In this case it is her face.  I bumped it up but such as the big picture, I went .1 because if I went to .2 I started to lose detail in her cheeks and her bow.  The color was cooler when you want a warmer temperature for portraits.

I surely hopes this gives you confidence in your printing your photos on a layout if it is a concern.

So don’t be shy and join me for a session of Studio J in one window and tutorials on the in another window there are also several YouTube videos by CTMH for other tips and tricks!


How do I get over being camera shy?

Are you camera-shy? As the mom, who is usually the one who takes the most pictures, does more of the work, is exhausted and doesn’t feel like being photographed before OR after a big event whether you are camera-shy or not.  Most the time you are just happy you were there just for the experience of being there.  Then when you get home to look at the images on the computer you are nowhere around. I had an Aunt that use to be camera-shy in her younger years, I bet she so regrets it now, as she loves pictures and all but in the younger years, she always hid from the camera and she has hardly any memories of the past with her in them. Often we regret this too many years later once they are long gone, and so is your youth, no matter how you are.

So today I am going to give you tips on how to alleviate that fear of the camera. Number one priority is to accept yourself for who you are and know that you don’t see yourself like other’s see you.  So when you look in the mirror that is not a real life image.  Seems real but it isn’t, it’s reversed.  I really don’t like being on the other side of the camera much but I try very hard to be even when I have to take them myself.  I do it for my daughter and my son.  I also now do it for my blog and Facebook avatar because a pet-peeve of mine is when someone posts their kids or pets as their profile picture.  Whatever it may be, it isn’t them.  When you are talking to someone on the net you want to connect with them, not their dog or kids.  That is what albums are for.  Don’t mean to offend anyone but honestly if you are a blogger do you want them to connect to you or just another blog?  People like the feeling of that connection and I want to be able to connect with my readers.  I wished everyone on my blog had a Gravatar profile pic!  I would love that!  Anyway, If my husband is the photographer or the remote control to my camera I take many many pics, and then pick out a few I like.  This helped ALOT when I went digital.

avatarI was the company photographer for some time where I work, I did these Partner of the Month posters  for a few years then one month I got the title. (Good thing I was the photographer!) Since I got to play around and experiment with what I liked, then once I presented it, I was told… this is YOU!  Which leads to keeping your environment comfortable.  So you will not feel so awkward.  If you have a photographer doing family portraits a good photographer will help ease you and talk to you as if you have forgotten the camera is even there!  This helps set the mood for you, if you make it a plan you can get worked up about it and end up with fake or stiff smiles.  Forget about the camera, you know why? Because not all poses have to be perfect and face straight on with the lens of the camera to look good. Candid shots are the most common shots that are real to life and shows who you are. If you are having a posed shot taken by an amateur I will share a secret, it is sooo silly. I tell the person to let me know when they are ready since I can’t stand there with a smile plastered on my face until the amateur decides to click without even the consideration of a 1-2-3… So I hold my head down and say “tell me when you are ready”, when they say go, I will instantly pop my head up, look at the camera with a fresh face and a little giggle to go with it.  Otherwise the average point and shoot person will fiddle with the camera and start shooting one or two clicks when you are looking the other way!  This makes others laugh too. That seems to work for me, in most my candid’s, if am not smiling I look like I am ready to rip someone’s head off with a frown on my face. I never knew I looked so mean. People have told me through the years I look mad but I really am not. So a smile it is for me but I want it to be me too, not fake.

On a bored dreary day, get your best friend, hubby or even your kids to be the photographer and practice in front of the camera what is your best side, check them out so you know when someone surprises you with a camera in your face!   You can be prepared to instantly turn that frown upside down and give them your best shot. If you have small details that only you would notice but sometimes the camera make’s it apparently noticeable, like on eye smaller than another, (Very common) you will want that smaller eye to be the dominant by turning at an angle with that eye closest to the camera.  Read up on how to pose for a camera it will teach you about the S curve women should be in when posing for the camera.   Even for snapshots it can slim you down and it doesn’t have to be fake, because the S curve is natural for a woman’s body to be in.  Sitting or standing. Share that face with someone else. Get silly with your best friend, daughter, mother who ever. Do wild things. Crazy hair funny hat and most of all funny faces, all spur of the moment, you won’t regret it because you are making history with someone you love.  With today’s smart phones and camera capabilities, there is no excuse not to have a little fun! 

camera shy I know I have posted this before because I loved the smile on her face when  she saw it.  I surely didn’t want to be photographed this night after a long day  at work. Again, with the cellphones these days, wow the possibilities.  I downloaded an app called Photo Booth and made a session with my daughter  then what do ya know, Julianna had a kit called “Photo Booth”. I had to scrap  these pictures so I used everything I could to make it as funny as possible. It  put a HUGE smile on my girl’s face to see these photographs together in a  layout. I surely didn’t want to be photographed at 9:00 at night while tucking  her in after a long day of work, no make up or smeared make up then post it to  the internet. But you know what?  That is who I am and the real us and our relationship. Not everyone turned out perfect but I deleted the very bad ones  with closed eyes.. I have to accept myself for how others see me and so do  you.  Digital makes life alot easier when you can snap away because every  movement makes a new expression. One last thing in every and all tutorials I do, you will find that turning off the flash and bringing up the ambient light (natural light will give the best effects, the fluorescent lights and tungsten lights will give a color cast) this will increase  your photographs quality,  and it really give the natural look of the real you.. Natural light is my favorite of all.  Indirect sunlight, alot of people have the  misconception that cloudy days are bad days but really if you have the “cloudy” setting on your camera (even most point and shoots do) that will  make the color temperature just right for you to photograph on a cloudy day.   There is no limitations on those days unless they are grey days and may need a  little diffused fill flash.  I have even used a tissue to diffuse my flash. Another great tip is if you are an iPhoneography type of photographer, get  some good external apps for shooting pictures,  I love Camera + and have read  reviews on other great apps that can make your experience more fun.  I have a  whole folder of collage apps and all to make it fun too.  When I photo edit, I don’t like to run to the computer and start deleting them all.  I wait some time and then go back.  I may take a peek and rate them in my file browser but then later I go back and ask myself, what was wrong with this one?  The more time you give it, you start to see it differently and sometimes not so harsh on yourself  🙂 If you are camera-shy, try not to cover your face when someone holds up a camera.  Do not run out of the room and hide.  Do not always make ugly faces because you don’t want your picture taken, just be natural and most of all love yourself. Other’s need you and the memories you can give them by not being camera-shy.  The rewards will be priceless for years to come!