Archive for Photography

Project Life- The Perfect Photo?

Project Life- The Perfect Photo?


The perfect photo? Is there one? I tend to believe that every photo is the perfect photo.

I had a recent conversation over the weekend with a dear friend of mine who is a photographer.  She has taken our family photos before and she has an incredible eye when it comes to shooting pics.  Of course we were discussing formal pics to be done and I had to chuckle because I don’t give the “formal” pics much attention since I shoot photos everyday.  EVERY SINGLE DAY!


It’s hard NOT to shoot everyday when my camera is in my hand 90% of the time… my iPhone.


It use to be I would lug my mac daddy camera everywhere.  I would shoot every pic in RAW and was always searching for the perfect shot.  Friends… I can almost bet a buck or two that NO ONE who is looking at your “stories” or “albums” care if you are shooting pics with a mac daddy camera or your phone camera.  It’s the story that you captured.  It’s the moment.  The story…

I had a pic on my phone that was crazy grainy and blurry.  Normally I’m scrolling through my phone to delete the “tossable” ones but I couldn’t delete this picture.  This picture told a story.

Project Life, Stampin' Up!, Heidi Swapp, Capture Life


Everything is off in this photo. Even if I shot this pic in RAW fixing it would have changed the story.  My point is WHO CARES.  I changed this photo VERY little- turned it to Black & White and put the focus on our faces. The story that goes with this photo is so funny you might wet your britches.  I’m sure you have some of these too.  You know, times when you are out with friends laughing over the silliest things and shoot a selfie.  Why does this photo capture a story? Because it’s two grown women trying to take a picture of actually 3 of us and I could only seem to get 2 of us in the frame.  The waiter asked if he could take the picture and I had to say, NO.  Hello, this is a selfie. Or in this case an “Usie!”  You can’t take the picture buddy!

Shoot the pics and tell your story.  Whether it’s with your mac daddy or camera phone.  Just tell that story.

Here are a few I captured over the last week.

Project Life, Stampin' Up!, Heidi Swapp, Capture Life


This picture is exactly what I’m talking about.  This photo is still telling a story on Facebook.  I think we have an empty toilet roll club happening in epic proportions.  Not kidding.

My friend Cathy is even building pyramids with her empty rolls.  Just to see  how many will stack up before someone changes it.

Project Life, Stampin' Up!, Heidi Swapp, Capture Life



Project Life, Stampin' Up!, Heidi Swapp, Capture Life


This photo of Alexis was not great.  The sun was shining big time.  I decided to edit the photo in a few apps and it turned out to be a great photo in my eyes.  Almost like cotton candy.  YUMMY!

Project Life, Stampin' Up!, Heidi Swapp, Capture Life

Project Life, Stampin' Up!, Heidi Swapp, Capture Life



Just remember this is your story.  Enjoy the process and capture life.  If you need help, I’m here to help you along.  Just contact me.

You might be wondering what supplies are on these? It’s a mash up of products.  From Ali Edwards story kits, Simple Stories products, Project Life, Stampin’ Up!, and Heidi Swapp.  I LOVE LOVE the Stampin’ Up!  Project Life sleeves.  These are high quality. If you are unsure where to begin, Stampin’ Up! makes Project Life EASY EASY.  Pick a theme and start with one kit.  It’s that simple.

Check out the Project Life kits I have available HERE.

Hey… before you go. Did you hear the news? I’m teaching a Handmade Christmas card class.  If you just fainted it’s okay.  I almost did too.  If you are around the Pensacola area and have an interest in stamping along with me, check this class out HERE.

XOXOXO Make something pretty today….


Capture Life with Project Life

Capture Life with Project Life


Over the last couple of days I’ve been immersed with trying to be more diligent on capturing the everyday of LIFE.  We all know that life is BUSY.

This week I was reading Heidi Swapp’s blog on a new challenge.  If you have followed Heidi for any length of time you know that her family is dealing with the tragic loss of their 16 year old son. I’ve followed Heidi for a VERY long time.  Watched her kids grow up on social media.  I can’t imagine the loss or the heart ache.  Once again this beautiful woman has inspired others with her passion on capturing life.  Thankfully she has always been one to capture life through a photograph and she will always be able to see her beautiful son’s face through those photos.  Of course it’s not the same, but I know how a photo can bring a smile to anyones face.

Heidi’s post just reiterates what I’ve said here on my own blog for YEARS.  We all have a story to tell.  You don’t have to be creative or artsy fartsy to tell your story. The biggest challenge is getting those photographs off your camera and printed.

Over the years I’ve done ALL kinds of scrapbooking.  Traditional 12 x 12, 8 1/2 x 11, digital, Project Life, Mini Books.  I enjoy taking those memories and keeping them alive.  I’ve scrapbooked many books about myself so my kids can always remember WHO I am.  Not just a mother… but a girl with deep down feelings, goals, heartaches and most of all a lot of LOVE.  They will always know this about me.

Heidi’s new challenge is simple.  Take a picture every day for 30 days.  She gives you a prompt to help you.  I’ve heard many people say… “my life is nothing extraordinary.” Oh friends… mine isn’t either.  In fact as I type this I have a large load of laundry piled next to me.  The floors look like I have 50 dogs instead of 2.  Tanner chewed up a stuffed toy and the stuffing is EVERYWHERE.  The thing is… that’s a captured moment.  “That day I didn’t want to get off the couch and tackle that ginormous laundry pile!”  We ALL have a story.  I hope you will take a minute of your time to read her blog.  Pray for her and start capturing your life.


I wanted to share what I’m doing with this challenge.  Lord knows my time is SHORT during the day. I can use Project Life and create a simple layout with my daily photos.  Here are the first two days of the challenge and I will be sharing the others as I create them.


Capture Life Day 1, #hscapturelife, Project Life

I’m using the This is the Life Card Collection from Stampin’ Up! and the 6 x 8 pocket sleeves.  My goal is to have 30 pages in one sweet little book.

Capture Life Day 2, #hscapturelife, Project Life


As you can see, the layouts are simple enough.  Takes me under 30 minutes to complete- from the time I print my photo to putting the pockets in the sleeves.  It’s that quick.

I created a Project Life Getting Started document if you have never tried this way of scrapbooking.  It all starts with the photo.  Click HERE to download.

Day 1 Prompt: Ready.Set.Go  – Just START!!

Day 2 Prompt: It’s a Fine Day to Wander-  We will all interpret these differently.  As you can see mine was about my MIND wandering.  Again, don’t think too much into this.

AND don’t stress.

If you forgot to take a photo just look at your camera roll on your phone.  Currently there are over 6,000 pics on my phone.  Oh HELP me!

Check out the awesome Project Life by Stampin’ Up! products HERE.

My favorite Project Life products right now are below.  Just click the picture for more details.

Project Life by Stampin' Up!

Project Life by Stampin' Up! Project Life by Stampin' Up!


What do you think? Will you give it a try? Click HERE to read Heidi’s blog post on the challenge.  You can also follow her on Instagram to see the daily prompts by searching for @heidiswapp.  I hope you will be inspired to try it out yourself.

NOW… BIG NEWS!!!!  Here is a video of my Let’s Get Away Project Life Album.  If you are a demonstrator I shared this at convention. Demonstrators will soon see more info on the class I spoke about in the resource section under convention.  Not a demonstrator… no worries.  This video will give you an idea on how I created the album. Remember, keep it simple.  I will also be sharing photos that will give you a bit more detail.

Love to each of you.  Go capture LIFE.  Life is short.  We need to enjoy every S I N G L E day!


P.S. – Did you receive my NEWSLETTER on Tuesday? Oh please tell me you did!!  If not, sign up now. Sign up on the right sidebar of my blog.  Easy Peasy! I’ll be sending it again to NEW subscribers on Friday.  It’s FILLED with lots of project ideas.  My goal is to inspire YOU!!

All Because of a Snail!

The adventure has definitely begun and my mechanic skills are being tested daily.  Who knew it would have to do with a snail? Seriously?

Here at our home we have the entire bedtime routine down to a science.  I'm one of the those people that if I get out of a routine I am a mess.  My kids know this.  Part of our bedtime routine is feeding the fish.  Now this is not just a few cute goldfish, this is two large 75-85 gallon tanks and another one with two Goldfish! <smile>  My Prince has a passion for fish and I have been given the authority to keep them alive.  Well, I've already screwed up.  Our fish tanks have a variety of fish in them.  They are all fresh water so we have a tank of what I call the "mean" fish and then a tank of "sweet & loving" fish like guppies.  That tank is "sweet & loving" because they seem to constantly multiply without us buying more. <u-huh>.  The "mean" fish tank has more of the aggressive fish which also included a snail because he liked it in there.  This stupid snail (pretty big mind you- named Goldie) has been living for a pretty good bit.  He slides all over the tank and always seems pretty darn happy…until last night.  Alexis noticed that Goldie was stuck inside the filter.  ???? Panic set in as I knew I would have to touch it and yep… I did.  I didn't know what to do since I'm not a fish mechanic and really was at a loss.  I gently pulled the filter bottom off and stopped the suction.  Goldie eventually fell off the filter and has remained in the same place since yesterday.  You know what that means….. dum, dum dum dum- DEAD! Since I was able to get Goldie off the filter I needed to get the filter going again.  Guess what? I plugged it in and it stopped working.  This is when I almost had a panic attack.  Since I knew I could call my Prince, I did.  His first question, "Are the kids still up this late on a school night?"  My answer, "I'll fix it myself!" By this time my adrenaline kicked in and I was bound and determined to make this filter work.  Meantime I am slimy up to my elbows in fish stuff and NOT happy.  The good news is the filter is back in working condition and I am still speaking to my Prince.  The bad news is the stupid snail is DEAD!

Regardless of you being a military wife if you are a wife whose husband travels you know EXACTLY what I am talking about here.  The moment they leave something breaks.  I will consider my luck and be glad it was just the filter.

Today the screen door off my deck fell off.  This is going to require big tools.  This could get very interesting. 

My lack of posting has not been from laziness which I tend to use as my excuse but really the complete opposite.  The kids have kept me extremely busy and I do have a watchful eye on them just to see how they are handling everything.  They are doing great—->except at bedtime.  That seems to be the magic hour when they ask lots of questions. Questions that make me scratch my head but they are sweet and innocent questions.  While this magical hour can be heart wrenching at times we've had a lot of laughs and it's my MOST favorite time with these little gem blossoms. 

The Prince says to say hello.  He is doing great too.  Okay, maybe not GREAT, but managing.  He looks great from what I can tell on a monitor.  <sigh>

Lastly, I'm coming to the end of my Photography class.  I've been super excited about this and I think my camera and I are finally bff's.  It took a long time.  Finally we see eye to eye.  <smile>

Here are a few shots of my gems:


Alexis had a Doll & Me tea on Saturday with her Brownie troop.  She dressed really snazzy and brought her bear.  She looked so beautiful and had a really great time. 

Indpendent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator Kimberly Van Diepen




Here Brandon is giving the pose called, "Please get that camera out of my face!" 

Independent Stampin' Up! demonstrator Kimberly Van Diepen

When the camera comes out the kids RUN fast as they can.  The only thing currently that I can take a picture of is my doggie!

Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator Kimberly Van Diepen


I love my doggie.  She is just 4lbs and a princess. 

There you have it.  It all started with a silly snail! Life has been crazy but it's a good crazy.  There is good news in all this craziness…. HANG on to your PANTS!

This week I WILL have the supply list ready for my FREE class I will be offering next Monday.  I hope to have this ready tomorrow but I'm learning not to hold my breath.  The class is complete and you will not want to miss it.  It's a SUPER duper fun project and perfect for May Day.  I'll clue you in on what May Day  is all about when I post the supply list.  <I didn't know what it was>

I can tell you this much… you will want to make sure you have purchased the Spring is Blossoming Special.  Click on the link and check it out.  The Four Frames stamp set is amazing and the new Paisley Prints DSP is one of the best! These are must haves for your stampin' collection. 

Have a fabulous week and thank you for always taking the time to get a peek in my crazy life. 


Motherly Instincts!

Indpendent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator Kimberly Van Diepen Northern Virginia



This picture can sum up my entire post but of course I can't do that!  I'm way to chatty to let the picture talk for me! I will have to tell you WHY she is jumping for JOY! If you remember a few days ago I told you Alexis was on antibiotics.  Last Saturday Lex and Russ went to sell Girl Scout cookies.  She was fever free, running, playing… you get it…. HEALTHY!  After she came home and ate lunch Brandon and her decided they wanted to watch a movie.  I was busy doing my favorite thing… CLEANING! *grumpy face* When I came down the stairs there she was sound asleep on the couch with her favorite blanket from Mrs. Patty!

Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator Kimberly Van Diepen Northern Virginia



While this looks all sweet and innocent I actually freaked out.  Alexis hasn't taken a nap in 4 years.  I knew something was wrong.  My motherly instincts told me so! Can you relate to this? You know the feeling I am talking about, right? I had taken her temperature and she had no fever.  I told Russ that my gut tells me to get her to the Doctor.  When I woke her up I asked her, "Do you hurt anywhere?" Not really she said.  She did complain of her throat itching a little bit. WHAT??? When I looked back in her throat I couldn't see anything suspicious but again, I just knew she needed to be seen.  After and hour of trying to figure out where to go (this is how the military rolls… it's never easy!) she was seen at Urgent Care.  This is where we were told the Rapid Strep test was negative but they put her antibiotics.  Out the door we went. 

Going back to the photo of her jumping up in the air…. It serves two purposes.  First, she feels 100% better! Second, I got the results of the Strep culture! POSITIVE!  Motherly Instincts, we have them for a reason.  I am so thankful I took her in that late Saturday. 

In my photo news…

Thank you to all of you with your tips, tricks and favorite lens to use.  Boy do I appreciate you.  I have saved your comments and emails for future follow up.  Some of you have totally educated me on great photo stuff.  You are so awesome and I am so grateful.  My camera and I are not really friends right now.  I'm mad because I can't complete one of my photo tasks. The teacher said it wouldn't be easy.  She is so right.  Grrr…  It's not like a mistake on paper.  I can just flip that over and start again.  After take 60+ panning shots of my son running across the yard and all I could get was a gray streak (basically the blur of his clothes) I did what the teacher said… I turned the camera off!  Phew!  We'll try again tomorrow. 
I'm so ready for the weekend, are you?


Family Musings

I thought I would update you on the family health situation and other news.  First- the kids are MUCH much better.  Phew.  What a long drawn out virus.  Alexis is on antibiotics and we are still awaiting the strep culture results.  They both went back to school today and are up and running again driving each other and me absolutely crazy! I'll take the craziness any day over that nasty bug. 

I'm gonna tattle on myself for a minute.  Tattling is nothing new for me. Ask my mother.  She once pinned a donkey tail on my hiney because I was such a bad tattle tailer!  I'm getting pay backs with Alexis. No worries! Anyways… I love watching the Bachelor.  I know.  You may be thinking, "Seriously?"  It's 1-2 hours of someone else's reality. I just love the dumb show.  Tonight my Prince and I watched it together.  It was like jabbing needles into his eyes I'm sure but I was in HEAVEN!  It doesn't happen often that we can sit quietly together. It was so blissful! As we sit together watching the show and Brad is wooing all the girls my Prince leans over to me and says, "Ya know, if anything happens to me you should try out for the show!"  Me: WHAT???? Where did that come from? Are you kidding me? A Princess ONLY has one Prince, Russ!  These were only thoughts.  What really happened——–> CROC-a-DILE tears. I felt this conversation coming as the time gets closer. It's all part of it.  Part of the deal-eo! You talk about morbid things you never want to even think about but the reality is you have to.  What if something happened to him? I feel confident as I've told you before-he will be safe.  However it is part of the process and something I really don't like to talk about.  Needless to say the last half of the show was a little blurry from swollen, glazed over eyes.  I'm sure this was not what he meant to create- I am just a total emotional mess and not afraid to admit it.  LOL!

Speaking of the Prince.  He bought me a new camera over the weekend so I could take super crisp images of the gem blossoms during his "vacation!"  I am SUPER psyched except I have no clue how to use the dumb thing.  He bought a Canon D50.  Love, LOVE, Love it on Automatic.  *giggle*  I signed up for a photography class.  I hope you don't mind as  I will probably share a few seperate posts on my progress. I sure hope there is progress.  🙂

Here is my attempt of taking a pic with a new lens tonight too. 

Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator Kimberly Van Diepen



You don't have to tell me… I still need a few more lessons.  LOL!

What is your favorite camera/camera lens that you use? I'd LOVE to know.

Thanks for always listening.