Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What a good flash can do for a photo

O.k. Don't fall over dead k? Yes, I'm still alive, and yes, I'm actually posting! I know, shocking right? These past several months have been crazy! Emily is now 5 months old. We're only a month away from being able to finalize her adoption! I can't wait!!! For those that have asked about Em's birthmom, she is doing fabulous! She actually spent Christmas morning with us so that was great to have her here. :D For more on our lives, and our adoption, you can check out our adoption/family blog here. For now, I wanted to share a few things with you. I'll be doing separate posts for each.

The first is all about my new camera flash that I got for Christmas! In September I took a fabulous and fun photography workshop hosted by a couple of fantastic Pro Photographers I know. During this workshop they covered just about everything you'd ever want to know about photography. Including flashes. They mentioned a type of off camera flash where you can bounce the light off of various things because it has a rotation and tilt to the flash. This happened to be one of the things I mentioned to my husband I would like for Christmas.

I have a fairly decent camera, a Canon Rebel xsi. It's a 12.2 mp. For my needs I don't need any more. I would like to get a couple of newer and nicer lenses, but for now, like I said, what I have works. But I didn't have a good flash. All I had was the on camera flash and a really cheapo flash that would blind everyone who I took pics of so I never used it. So my hubby decided he would get me a new flash for Christmas. What I wanted was a flash that had a 360 degree rotation with a 90 degree tilt. He probably got a nicer one then what I needed, but I'm really happy with it so I'm not complaining. He got this one, a Speedlite 580EX II.

Here is an example of what a good flash can do for your photos. Now, I'm not a pro by any means, just a hobbyist, so keep that in mind, these are just snap shots that I did.

For this first pic, I didn't use a flash at all. This is just the seriously bad lighting in my kitchen, not to mention that my incredibly adorable Em was moving when I took it:

This next one is an example of the on camera flash, do you see how Em looks kind of blue:

Now here is a picture using the speedlite, much better:

Now, one the things I mentioned is that with the flash having a rotation and tilt you can bounce your flash off various things. So here is an example of my flash bouncing off my living room walls (which are a goldy beige color) and an example of the flash bouncing off my white ceiling. Bouncing your flash means that you can point the flash towards something, in this case the wall and the ceiling, and it will give the photo the glow of whatever it is you're bouncing the flash off of. Did that make sense? Here, let me show you.
For this first example I took a pic of a card box I made for my mom for Christmas. In this photo I pointed my flash toward my wall. Remember, it has a golden tone to it. So it gave the box a golden glow:

Now, I took a photo of the same box, same angle, but this time I bounced the flash off the white ceiling. Here are the results:

See the difference? Cool huh? Yup, I'm pretty pleased with my new flash. :D Stay tuned for more projects. I have this card box, and another one to tell you about. And I have a few other projects to include some quilts and our Christmas cards to show you. :o)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Baby Announcements

Emily has been having some tummy and reflux issues. So I haven't had much time for anything other then holding her and trying to make her feel better. I did some research on the internet and found some suggestions that I tried tonight and so far she has been an angel and sleeping well. We also have an appt. with the dr. tomorrow so we will see what she says.

Anyhow, since Emily has been sleeping peacefully for the first time in days it seems like, I decided to see if I could come up with an idea for her baby announcement. Here it is!
I used Pink Pirouette and Whisper White cardstocks. I also used the dots embossing folder with the big shot. I used the punch from the SAB catty (not sure what it's called but it is in the main catty, and I can't find that right now). Then I used the retired set, "I'm Here" and a sentiment set call Small Sayings (also retired). I also used ribbon from the new SU catty. The only thing on here that is not SU, is the little hands in the corner. Not sure what those are from, I borrowed them from my sister-in-law.
Sorry that the inside is wonky. I couldn't get it to load right on blogger. Anyhow, I got the idea to do the little hand print behind the words on the inside from this card on Splitcoast. I got a little help on the wording of the last part from another adoptive couple who's blog I read (the words "lovingly placed in our arms") But the inside says:
Jacob, Sharon & Tamara
are proud to present
the newest addition
to their family
Emily Rose Crown
July 26, 2010 @ 5:26 a.m.
9 lbs. 5 oz. 21 inches
Lovingly placed
in our arms through
the gift of adoption
August 2, 2010

I also did the photo for the inside. Our Photographer has been booked and we haven't been able to mesh our schedule with hers yet. And hubby is leaving on Thurday for his annual 2 week training for the Reserves. So rather then delay the announcments till after we can get the pictures done when hubby gets back, I decided to try to see what kind of pic I could do myself. I think I did a fairly good job. ;o)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Home Sweet Home!!!

We're home!!!! We got a call Sunday morning from the dr. asking us if we wanted to bring the baby home. She was well enough to leave the hospital! The heart murmur wasn't detected, the rapid heartbeat is gone, the infection is gone, blood sugar levels are normal and the jaundice is gone! We were, needless to say, thrilled!! So after Emily's last round of antibiotics at 3 and then a couple of hours of bathing, changing, taking her newborn pics from the hospital and feeding her one last time (cause she was a hungry girl and couldn't wait) it was time to go!
After leaving the hospital we went to Emily's birth mom's house to visit. Such a wonderful visit.

Then we went back to the hotel

Monday afternoon (my dad's birthday, and Emily's 1 week birthday) was court where K signed relinquishment and consent forms and since there is no agency involved in our adoption, the judge signed legal guardianship of Emily to us.

Then it was time to come home!
What a wonderful few days it has been. K is never far from our thoughts. We owe her so much!

And finally, 9 years ago today, I married the most amazing man! Happy Anniversary Jacob!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Prayers for Emily and K

Dear Family and Friends,
As you all know our little Emily was born early Monday morning and has been in the NICU since shortly after birth. She is improving, and if all continues to go well, we should be able to take Emily home next Tuesday (which how cool would that be! That is our 9th wedding anniversary). This Sunday is Fast Sunday. We would like to ask that you and your individual families remember Emily and her birth mom K in your fasting and prayers on Sunday. If you are unable to fast, will you please say a special prayer. Please bless that Emily will continue to improve and that we will be able to take her home soon. Also, K is going to court on Monday to relinquish her rights which will allow us to bring Emily home when the time comes, and allow us to proceed with the adoption. K is doing well and is very much at peace with her decision. Please bless her, that she will continue to feel strength, peace and comfort in her decision. That she will always know of the love that we all have for her. Thank you for your continued prayers and love.
With Love, Sharon, Jacob, Tammy, & Emily

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

And NICU Mommy

An NICU Mommy..... That's what they call me. The nurses...... When we imagined this time, never did we imagine that we would be NICU Parents, but we are. Our little Emily was born with a low blood sugar which isn't unusual with babies of a high birth weight. After her first feeding her blood sugar actually went lower. So the dr. ordered an IV drip of Sugar water to try to get her blood sugar to go higher. It was working great! Until she started eatting less and less. She went from eatting 2+ oz. in a sitting, to not even an oz. sometimes half an oz. And even getting her to eat that much took work. She was getting fussier and fussier. So the dr. ordered some tests. Turns out baby girl has an infection. Not surprising since K's water broke and it wasn't until almost 23 hours later that Emily was born. The dr. detected a heart murmur yesterday, it was still there today, so an Echocardiogram was ordered. The cardiologist at the hospital reviewed the tests. we are still waiting on the official report from Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake, but according to the cardiologist here, he says that the holes in the chambers in Emily's heart haven't closed up yet, but he says because she has been sick, that isn't surprising. So according to him, it isn't cause for concern right now, but if at her first well baby check up there is still a murmur, the pediatrician will need to keep an eye on it. We'll see if the PCMC dr. agrees with his assesment. Emily's oxygen levels have been dropping off and on, and her breathing goes a little fast at times, but that is probably due to the stress of being sick the dr. says. So they continue to monitor her. We continue to spend every second we can with her, and pray for her. We aren't sure how long we will be in the NICU. K signed a release with the hospital social worker allowing us to go home with the baby when she is released since K herself will be released before Emily. The nurse said to not be surprised if we are there through the weekend. We hope she is wrong. But, we will stay as long as it takes for Emily to get healthy.

Speaking of K, she is doing well. She was having some heart trouble as well, but an EKG showed nothing wrong according to the nurse. Haven't talked to the dr. yet though. But she is doing well. Walking around like a champ. So much so that I had to tell her to take it easy. I worry about her. But I know she is in good hands. K is a trooper. Very strong, very amazing. Emily comes from her, so I have no doubt she will be o.k. K should be released tomorrow (Wednesday) so court should be Thursday. We'll know more in the morning.

No, none of the last few days is like I imagined it would be. The experiences we have had, the tears we have shed, every last bit of it, has been worth it. Why? Because of this precious little one right here:

1 hour old. After her first bath.

1 day old. Hanging out in the NICU with mommy and daddy. She is always so content in Daddy's arms. :D You can see some of the lines that are hooked to her, and her IV in this picture. The IV is in her head so it won't be easy for her to pull or kick out.

Monday, July 26, 2010

She's Here!!! Welcome to the World Emily Rose!!

She's HERE!!! I'll post pictures when we get home and I can edit the size so they don't lock blogger. But for now, here are the details:

Emily Rose born via c-section after 22 hours of labor including 2 hours of pushing! (Ya, our birth mom is our hero! you should have seen her! She was and continues to be, the strongest person I know!)

Birthdate: July 26th at 5:26 a.m.
height: 9 lbs. 5 oz.
weight: 21 inches
hair: sandy blonde, and lots of it!
eye color: probably will be blue since both of her birth parents have blue eyes.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Baby update

Just a quick baby update. For more details, including a pic of our angel birth mom taken today, after her appt, check out our family blog (linked on the right). Our birth mom is now 39 weeks. She is 70% effaced (has been for 3 weeks) but is now dialated to a 1and a half (has been at a 1 for two weeks, so it's a little progress) Although she has been having contractions since yesterday morning, they are an hour apart, so she is in the very early stages of labor. She is measuring at 44, so the doctor is wanting an ultrasound to find out how big baby girl is. If she is too big the may need to do a c-section, or induce labor, (which we are hoping they won't have to do a c-section!) so we will see. The ultrasound is Monday morning so I will have more news then. Unless K's labor progesses more, which is what I'm hoping for! Poor thing is sooooo ready!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Soft Blanket for baby

Babies love soft things. They like the soft texture. I have seen a lot of soft blankets out there, everything from velvet to satin to silk to any kind of soft material you can think of. Call them lovies, softies, snuggies, whatever you decide to call them, babies love them! I decided to make our sweet Emily a soft blanket. It doesn't have any batting in it, it's just simple. I did a chocolate satin and I was going to do a green velore, but I found this soft pink velore with roses embossed in it and it was as if the fabric was calling to me from the rack saying, pick me, pick me! So, I did. ;o) I did a checkered pattern on the front using the pink and brown, the back is all brown satin so both sides are soft and it is bond in the pink velore.
In this photo you can see the colors a little better (the lighting in my family room isn't good, sorry) You can also see a little better the embossed roses on the pink velore. The back is also shown.

I did roses because our baby's middle name is going to be Rose (after her birth mommy who's middle name is also Rose). We are at almost into the single digits till her due date! Today is Sunday and there is 11 days left, tomorrow will be 10 days left, and then we are in the single digits. I know she can be late, but we're hoping the dr. won't let our birth mom go over since she is starting school again with in weeks of giving birth. We'll see though. Our next appt. is her 39 week appt. on Thursday. :D

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Quilt for K

I made a quilt for our expectant birth mom K. (She's due in just 2 weeks!! Can't wait for baby Emily to make her arrival!! She is 70% effaced and dialated to a 1. Same as last week, but baby has dropped a little.) We also made a matching one for the baby. (Not my original idea to do matching quilts as a gift. Not sure who's idea it was. But I love it!) I asked her what her favorite colors were and I found out they are pink, purple, orange, blue & green....... yeah............ I thought it would be difficult trying to incorporate all those colors into the quilt, but it actually wasn't. The hardest part was picking the fabric of course. But once I picked those it was easy. I am a basic quilter. I do squares. That's it. I am going to have my mom teach me how to do other styles, but for now, squares it is. I forgot to take a picture of K's quilt before I gave it to her. But her's is the exact same as the baby's with 1 exception. K's squares are 5 inches finished. The baby's quilt has 3.5 inch finished squares. This of course makes the baby's quilt smaller. Anyhow, here is the baby's quilt. My mom, aunt, and a family friend helped me to tie K's, and I tied the baby's.

Each of the colors had 3 different fabrics. Then I found one that had orange, purple and pink to tie them all together. It is bound and tied in purple. The quilt is 11 squares across, and 11 down. I am so thrilled with how it turned out. Here is a close up on the some of the fabrics.

Friday, July 09, 2010

1 layer cards, late, but as promised!

O.k. I totally suck! I know, I updated a couple of weeks ago and said I stamped. I am just now posting those cards! I'm sorry! Between issues with my computer & getting ready for baby (any day now! Our birth mom is 37 weeks so baby could come any day now! But I think we're ready. LOL)

Anyhow, here are the cards I did. I did multiples of some of these. On all cards I use Whisper White cardstock & Tuxedo Ink from Momento.

On this first one (one of my favs) I used the SU dots embossing folder (EF) with the big shot. I have a cuttlebug, and I love it. But I find that the big shot gives the impression way better than the cuttlebug. For some projects I will want a subtler (is that a word?) impression so the cuttlebug will work great for those. For these cards however, I wanted a deep impression, so the big shot it was! Anyhow, back to the card. I used the dots EF and the Kind & Caring Thoughts from Stampin Up (SU) as well for the sentiment. I used a purple gingham ribbon which I am not sure where I got. I'm assuming HL (Hobby Lobby) or Michaels? Anyhow, very simple, but I love it!

This next one is almost the same but instead of the dots EF from SU, I used the Stylized flowers EF from Provo Craft.

This one is one of my favs. I used the Kind & Caring Thoughts set (SU) for the image with Rose Red, Lovely Lilac & Certainly Celery markers (SU). And then the sentiment is from Watercolor Trio set (SU). I used the SU dots EF on the right side, the image on the left and a ribbon from Michaels down the middle.

This one was using all Kind & Caring Thoughts with the Rose Red & Certainly Celery markers (All SU). This one and the next are using repeat stamping (ink your image and stamping it a couple of times before reinking). Also used the pink ribbon from Michaels.

This card is my next to favorite one. It is using the Watercolor Trio set with Rose Red, Certainly Celery, & Lovely Lilac markers (all SU). Also using the Michaels ribbon. I love how this one turned out!

This last one is my absolute fav! I need to make more because I wasn't how it would turn out so I only made 1. I used the dots EF from SU, purple ribbon from Michaels & the Kind & Caring Thoughts set from SU for the sentiment. This one is actually the only one that is not a 1 layer card. I had to do the dots on a seperate peice of cardstock and then adhere it to the card base so that the dots could be on the top. I also used the Elephant die set from the Cuttlekids collection from Provo Craft. Seriously, how cute is this!!

As soon as I can I will add some more projects that I have been working on, including quilts (3), more cards and a few other goodies.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Still Alive

Yes, I am still alive. Life has been hectic since being chosen to adopt our baby girl. Our birth mom is due in just 6 weeks. I can't beleive how fast time has gone by!

I have kept myself busy with lots of quilting projects, a couple of cakes and shopping for baby! Up until tonight I hadn't stamped in literally months (other then the once a month stamp club which I haven't been to in a couple of months).

Well tonight, I found myself itching to stamp. Rather then just going to bed like I did the last time I wanted to stamp, I opted to stay up and "scratch the itch" to stamp so to speak.

I popped in the movie Sense and Senseability and stamped away! I finished 16 cards just as the movie ended. Not too shabby! Most of the cards are 1 layer cards, but I love the way they turned out. I will take them out in the morning and take pictures of them. In the meantime, I thought I would share with you some photos that my friend Ashley of Monarch Photography took of us with our birth mom. For her privacy we refer to her as K and ask that if you know her name, you do the same. We also don't show her face to protect her privacy as well. We have a lot of photos with her face, but like I said, for her privacy, here are a few for you to enjoy that don't show her face. These photos were taken on Memorial Day when K was 31 and a half weeks. She is now 34 weeks. Almost Baby Time!! Enjoy these photos and tomorrow I will have some cards to share with you!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Project for BABY!

We have been getting ready for our new little one to join us in just 115 days. It still seems so far away, but the time is going quickly. With today being Easter we had a nice relaxing day. So I spent a couple of hours making a project for the nursery. Right now the nursery has a pink crib set (which I love!). But I want to make another one (an additional one) that will be, what else but purple and green (with Roses since the baby's middle name is Rose which is her sweet birthmom's middle name). ;o)

A while ago I bought some letters from HL spelling the word BABY. Since we hadn't been chosen yet, and didn't know if our future little one would be a boy or a girl, I hadn't decorated the letters yet. So since we had been chosen now, and our little one is a girl..... Well, see for yourself:

I used the Cottage Wall Designer Series Paper from Stampin Up! I also used some ribbon from the craft store for embelishment on the letters and to hang the letters on the wall. I used Prima Flowers with brads in the center for embelishment as well.

I inked the sides of the letters with Mellow Moss Craft ink (SU) and a sponge. Then I inked the edges of the paper letters. I then attached the paper to the letters using modge podge and then applied a thin layer of modge podge over the finished letter to seal it. I added the ribbon and flowers and used sticky tape to attach the ribbon to the back for hanging.

I hung the letters above the crib:

I love it!

(For some reason everything in these pictures look a little more yellow then what they actually are, but you get the idea. :D)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

O.k. Sharon, where have you been? ;o)

I know, I've been out of blogging for awhile. Why you ask? Well, I've been a little preoccupied! We were being considered for adoption by a wonderful birthmom. On Wednesday she chose us! Our baby girl will be born on or around July 29th! We will have a very very open adoption and could not be more thrilled! For more of the story, and for an ultrasound photo, check out my family/adoption blog.
I will be doing a lot of crafting in the next several months. July 29th is still 4+ months away and I need something to keep me busy! I will post some projects soon! I have a few for you to see. But for now, I'm heading to bed to take a nap. For some reason, I've been too excited to sleep lately. ;o)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Build-A-Bear Birthday Card

Sunday was not only Valentine's Day, but Sunday was also my mother-in-laws birthday. She is such a fun lady that I wanted to do a fun card for her. I hadn't used my Build-A-Bear set yet really, so I wanted to use it for her birthday card:
I like how it turned out!
Stamps: Aida BG, Build-A-Bear, Build-A-Bear Word set (SU) (not sure what the word set is called)
Cardstock: Certainly Celery, Pretty In Pink, Whisper White, Nursery Paper Pack (all paper SU exceot paper pack, got that from HL)
Ink: Momento Tuxedo Black
Access.: Signo Gel Pen, Copic Markers, white grosgrain ribbon

The bears dress is paper peiced. Seriously love how this turned out. I know, it's a little more like a little kids card, but I just loved these colors together. Very springy!

I found this fabulous sign at Hobby Lobby and just had to get it for her. ;o)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Gift card holder

Seriously, can I be any worse of a blog mommy? Sorry to anyone out there still reading my blog! I will try my hardest to be better and post projects more often.

I haven't felt much up to stamping lately, or doing anything crafty. But I determined to do the challenges on SCS in hopes of getting some creative mojo back.

My neice Kim turned 19 at the end of Decemeber. I can't beleive she is so grown up!
What do you get a 19 year old? I asked my 14 year old daughter Tammy what she thought her cousin might like. Kim and Tammy are really good friends and if anyone knew what she would like, it would be Tammy. Tammy suggested a gift card to one of Kim's favorite stores, Plato's Closet. Gift care it is! But that meant I needed to make a gift card holder. So here is what I came up with. Not my best work, but o.k.
Tammy chose the colors, they are some of Kim's favorites. And Kim is obsessed with fairies. I don't have any measurements for this, I just winged my way through it, and this is the result:
The colors Tammy chose were Taken With Teal, Elegant Eggplant, and Basic Black. I used the Build A Bear stamp set from SU for the flower on the outside. I also did the scallop edge punch from SU for the border. I paper pierced the edges of the sleeve thing and used the circle and scallop circle punch for the front focal image.

The inside looked like this:

I used some scrap cardstock to make the pocket for the gift card. The Happy Birthday sentiment is from the SU Sell-a-brations set Whimsical Words. This is one of their new unmounted sets! SU unmounted, who knew?! I love it! It's the best of both worlds! unmounted stamps take up less storage space, and you can see exactly where you are stamping your image, BUT you still get the awesomeness that is the unbeatable SU quality rubber stamps! Love it!

Since Kim loves, and mean LOVES fairies, it was only fitting to put a fairy on the inside! For this I used the Enchanted Fairies set from Artful Inkables. I colored it using Copic markers. After I was done my daughter thought it needed some bling. So I added some stickles to the detailed parts of the fairy's wings.

Like I said, not my best work, by any stretch, but not awful.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I know I have been MIA these last few weeks. The day that I made my last post I found out that a very old and dear friend of mine had been involved in a horrific car accident (we met when I was 13 and she was 14). She was driving south on the freeway, was temporarily distracted (like for only a couple seconds), swerved a little too far to the left, and over corrected. She crossed both lanes of south-bound traffic and the Expedition she was driving rolled 3 times before coming to a stop on it's side. She and the two passangers in her car (including her 9 year old daughter) were wearing seatbelts, but my friend was partially ejected from the vehicle. The front part of the drivers side roof caved in on her and she suffered severe head trauma. My sweet friend also suffered a broken cheek bone/eye socket, broken ribs, and a broken arm in 3 places. Her daughter and the other passanger escaped virtually unharmed with only minor bruising from the seatbelts.

For 12 days my friend was in the ICU in critical condition in a coma. This past Saturday, January 16th, she passed away. It has been a hard few weeks. I was able to go to the hospital to see her the day after the accident and again shortly after she passed away. I have known her husband since 10th grade and he is also a dear friend. He is doing as well as could be expected. I also saw him for a few hours on Monday. He is devastated and misses his sweet wife dearly. They met in high school and were married for 12 years (this year would have been 13). Her daughter is doing o.k.. She doesn't really understand what's going on, how can you at 9 years old. My heart is breaking for her loved ones left behind, ecspecially her husband and daughter. I wrote this on my other blog the day of her passing, shortly after returning home from the hospital. It sums up what I have been feeling.

So this is why I haven't been around. The funeral services are on Saturday. I don't normally make posts like this, forgive me if it offends anyone, but please, please keep Matt & Dayna (her husband and daughter) in your prayers. They really need comfort and strength right now.

Hopefully soon I will have some projects for you. I have been stamping, a little bit, I just haven't been up to posting much. But soon, very soon.....

Monday, January 04, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

I can't beleive it is 2010 already! That's just crazy!
It's around this time of year that people make resolutions. I normally don't like to make resolutions just because I know I won't stick to them. But this year, I thought I would make some crafting resolutions. I have been in a stamping funk for the last several months. And so to get myself out of it I decided to make resolutions.
First of all I'm joining a stamp club. Which I am totally excited about. My mom joined with me as well. I'm hoping it will help get my creative juices flowing again.
Next, I am determined to make at least 5 Christmas cards a month. This way I won't be scrambling at the end of the year when it comes time to mail out Christmas cards again. Each of the 5 will probably be the same. I don't like mass producing, but 5 isn't that many to mass produce. So I will have 10-11 different styles. :D
I also want to get my birthday box going again. A couple of years ago I made a birthday box, with index cards for each birthday and anniversary in our family. I made cards and put them in the box and then at the end of the month before I would get the cards ready to mail out for the next month. I stopped doing the birthday box right around the time we started getting ready to move. Now that we are settled I want to start that up again.
Another thing I want to do is just stamp. Stamp for fun, stamp for me. It's been a long time since I've done that. Stamping cards to put in my box of "hey, I need a card" cards. ;o)
The final thing, I need to come up with a way to raise funds for our adoption. Not sure if it will be stamping related. I know we could sell the ink storage units again. Hubby is starting college next week, in addition to his full time job, which is in addition to the Army Reserves, so he is rather busy right now and doesn't have the time to work in his shop. Plus he says it is waaaaaay to cold to be out there right now. So I need to figure something out. I'll let you all know so that if you want to help you can get the word out.
Things have been eerily quiet on my crafting blog these last several months and I'm determined to change that. I fell down the stairs early early Christmas morning and I'm still recovering from that. But I'm getting better every day. So be ready! Cause craft room, here I come!