HOW TO MAKE A FAIRY GARDEN!

I've noticed an explosion in Fairy Garden supplies at local craft stores and I think some of the little benches, doors and furniture you can buy are actually really cute! But I'll be honest I'm still a fan of collecting odds and ends and painting and customizing them to create a fairy garden, much like the post I created a few years ago FAIRY GARDEN IN A BOX. I made this particular box, with Avy's help, as a gift for my niece on her birthday and it continues to be one of my most visited posts and pinned items on Pinterest! See the original post here or pin it for you when you might need an extra special and fun gift for a little fairy in your life.

Cheers!

Catherine

THROWBACK THURSDAY: A SUPER EASY DIY VALENTINE FOR GIRLS AND BOYS

This is an insanely easy DYI and it's really inexpensive..hooray! We picked out pencils at Target (15 for $1) and made matching cards with the saying "I think you are pretty sharp." You could also hand write it, we punched two holes and tied the pencil to the card with ribbon I had in my stash. Done!

I think you're pretty sharp pencil valentines for all ages boys and girls, easy diy
I think you're pretty sharp pencil valentines for all ages boys and girls, easy diy

Happy Valentine's Day!

Cheers and love and hearts!

Catherine

THROWBACK THURSDAY: THE CUTEST VALENTINE'S FOR ANY AGE

Glow stick valentines for your little ones to take to school and you'll never have to worry about food allergies. (I'm always paranoid about sending someone into anaphylactic shock) Great for boys and girls! My kids handed these out last year at school to all of their friends and they were a huge hit!

The cutest glow in the dark valentine's for school, non food and you won't have to worry about allergies!

Cheers!

Catherine

TAKING BETTER PICS OF YOUR KIDS

Last week I reminded you of how I style my family for a photoshoot (see post here) and if you are a DIYer or momtographer my friend and photographer Meredith from Meredith Mascola Photography has some great tips on shooting your kids for your holiday cards or anytime really.

Hi there! I'm so excited to be a guest 'blogger" here at The Asylum. Today's topic: how YOU can take better pictures in your home and backyard. There are so many things that could be covered when talking about photography, but without confusing you- I'm going to be very basic.

INDOOR SHOOTING with natural light only:
I am a huge fan of shooting in natural light so that's why I picked this topic. You can do this with any type of camera, just be sure to turn your flash off before starting. If you are feeling brave, try using the manual setting. Manual shooting is a huge lesson in itself which we can save for another day.

1. Pick a room in your house that gets good natural light during the day. For me, I chose my living room because we have large windows that bring in plenty of light. Sliding glass doors are usually great for grabbing natural light as well as a window located near a bed.

2. Once you pick the room with the best light, create your "scene." For me, I moved the chair from one side of the room, to face the window stream of light. I then removed my coffee table so I could crouch there when I was taking the picture of my subject. Don't be afraid to move some things around to get the best possible shot.

* see image below for the position of the photographer, the subject and where the light source is.

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The result of positioning the subject FACING the windows and the stream of light: the light hit her face, and created catch lights in her eyes. Catch lights are a great addition to a portrait, adding dimension to the subjects face and life to the eyes. You can achieve this by using a flash, but you will get softer light hitting the face by using the natural light instead of a flash. I should mention the subject is about 10 feet from the window. The farther away from the windows (light source) the softer the light will hit her face.

DRAMATIC LIGHT indoors:
If you want to have a bit more contrast on the subject, bring them closer to the light source. In the picture below, I had my daughter inches from the window. By doing so, the light is stronger on her face (left side, which is facing the window). It is best to do this when the sun isn't casting harsh sun spots in the room. Instead you want an even light hitting the room
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PICKING A PLACE TO TAKE OUTDOOR PICTURES:
There are so many topics to cover when discussing outdoor photography, but I figured today I'd cover 1 very basic aspect and that is background. Here are some tips:

1. Choose a background with texture to add some dimension. I choose to have my subject stand in front of a pile of wood for this reason. A brick fireplace, tall grasses or stone are all nice backdrops that you can find in your back yard. Avoid things like the driveway with cars , garbage cans, etc.

2. If it is a sunny day, the subject must stand in the shade. Then shoot in to a mix of sun and shade as the background- for example leaves dappled in light.

3. If it is overcast, you can shoot anywhere because the light is even. If it is sunny, and you can wait to take your pictures- plan on taking them 1 hour before the sun sets. The light is soft and golden at this time of day and you can't beat the final results.

Have fun, experiment and enjoy the time you have to be creative. If you are shooting with a digital camera, you have nothing to lose. Sometimes what you think was a mistake can turn out to be your favorite creation yet!

Meredith
Meredith Mascola Photography

STYLING YOUR FAMILY FOR A PHOTOSHOOT

Guess who already has their photoshoot scheduled for her annual family photos? That's right, this chic! I surprised myself with how on the ball I am. Every year we go all out with the outfits and the concept, it's a tradition we have and that literally all 4 of us thoroughly enjoy. I love looking at our pictures through the years and seeing how the kids grow and change. 

My photographer friends are booking fast and some are already booked through the end of 2014! Since it's that time already (ahh!) I'm giving you a refresher on how I style the clothes for our photoshoots.

HOW TO STYLE YOUR FAMILY FOR A PHOTOSHOOT

I follow a 5 basic steps when I style my kids for our family photo shoot every year to avoid that "matchy-matchy white button down, jeans with barefeet" trap.....

For our 2011 shoot, I found a really cheap pair of red headphones that I knew The Dude would love wearing and that inspired an urban theme...like the kids are waiting for the train into the city. I always mix accessories I purchase for the shoot with staples my kids already have so I don't break the bank. The goal is always to get the kids to coordinate, not match! Have fun with it and use your imagination when it comes to the clothes, theme and location.

STEP ONE

Fun props like headphones and hats can start to tell a story and help dictate the style and theme of your photos.

Fun props like headphones and hats can start to tell a story and help dictate the style and theme of your photos.

STEP TWO

Neutral colors allow the kids faces to shine and the small pops of red against the neutrals make the color story complete.  Patterns can distract from your kid's faces, use them in small doses for the best effect.

Neutral colors allow the kids faces to shine and the small pops of red against the neutrals make the color story complete.  Patterns can distract from your kid's faces, use them in small doses for the best effect.

STEP THREE

The Dude wears grey jeans and a black vest...Avy Gravy wears black jeans and a grey top (which is actually a dress that I tucked in to her jeans to look like a top)...this simple step helps the kids look more natural.

The Dude wears grey jeans and a black vest...Avy Gravy wears black jeans and a grey top (which is actually a dress that I tucked in to her jeans to look like a top)...this simple step helps the kids look more natural.

STEP FOUR

Mix soft and rough textures...worn in denim with fancy sequence and fur keeps it interesting.  Mix subtle patterns too...stripes, leopard and tone on tone skulls on The Dude's jacket all work together as they are all part of the color palette I chose.

Mix soft and rough textures...worn in denim with fancy sequence and fur keeps it interesting.  Mix subtle patterns too...stripes, leopard and tone on tone skulls on The Dude's jacket all work together as they are all part of the color palette I chose.

STEP FIVE

The tie was the perfect way to dress up The Dude's outfit but we kept it tied loosely so it's still casual. Sunglasses make a fun prop as do the headphones. Fingerless gloves add a bit of an edge and the glitter headband is a like a subtle piece of jewelry on Avy Gravy.

The tie was the perfect way to dress up The Dude's outfit but we kept it tied loosely so it's still casual. Sunglasses make a fun prop as do the headphones. Fingerless gloves add a bit of an edge and the glitter headband is a like a subtle piece of jewelry on Avy Gravy.

My best advice is by mixing in fun pieces you can create a ton of interest in your photos and highlight everyone's individual personalities. Avy loves all things glitter and fancy but she still loves being a little tough. The Dude just loves to be the hippest guy in the room, he's obsessed with clothes but is also a total ham...and I think these pictures really convey that. If you're kids love the outdoors or nature or baking, use those as jumping off points when thinking about your theme and location.

Another important element is a bad ass photographer, my friend Meredith of Meredith Mascola Photography took all the photos in this post and does our portraits every year. She is great at getting the best out of my kids and that's key, they are always laughing and smiling with her. Plus she gets my crazy visions every year and really helps me achieve what I see in my head. So shop around and if you like the style of someone's photos ask them who shot it and give them a call.

And when you get those pics taken, send them over to me and I'll help you create a unique holiday card to really wow your friends and family! !

Cheers! 

Catherine

LET'S PARTY: A VERY GIRLY GRADUATION PARTY

Brand new website means a brand new feature on the blog...LET'S PARTY! which is creative party inspiration paired with a fab invitation from me, Catherine Kiff-Vozza, Couture Stationer. In each post you'll find inventive party themes coupled with party decor, food, favors and outfits all to get your imagination following. So with that I give you the very first installment perfect for this time of year, A Very Girl Graduation Party!

Girl Graduation Party Decor

INVITATIONS | Catherine Kiff-Vozza, Couture Stationer PARTY DRESS | Kate Spade CAKE TOPPER | SugarBeeEtching DIY BALLOON DECOR | Shop Society Social  DIY GRADUATION FAVORS | no biggie DESSERT TABLE | Shop Society Social DIY PHOTO GARLAND |

The idea of stringing a garland of photos of the graduate is so great, garlands are all the rage in DIY party decor right now and this is a fab way of celebrating your graduate. And in the same DIY thinking you can customize balloons from your party store or even grocery store with giant numbers showing the year, this is an easy tutorial to follow. A colorful dessert table matches the wild and girly style of the invitations by moi of course. Round it out with graduation themed party favors and cake toppers or cupcakes and your grad in a cute Kate Spade party dress and you'll have one fabulous celebration!

 

Cheers!

Catherine

 

CELEBRATING WITH YOUR FAVORITE POSTS!

I love birthdays and parties and any reason to drink champagne and dance on a table! I'm continuing to celebrate The Asylum's first year this weekend and thought we should do that with a look at your favorite posts!

 

FAVE REAL WEDDING POST

Lara and Colin's gorgeous East Coast celebration complete with a custom blush wine stained wedding invitation suite by moi was the most coveted Real Wedding! Happy almost Anniversary Lara and Colin!

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FAVE WEDDING INVITATION SUITE

These beautiful modern gold square cards were printed in white foil with a fresh mix of fonts...these would be my wedding invitations if I did it all over again.

FAVE TUTORIAL

You all seemed to need to make your own unique sized envelope as this post continues to be visited daily!

FAVE RECIPES

The most popular recipes were hands down the Strawberry Almond Gelato and Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble...and strawberry season will he here very soon so get ready!

FAVE PARTY INVITATION

The most visited OUT OF THE BOX INVITATION was the Campfire S'more Kit which will always be one of my favorites as well. I can almost smell the marshmallows roasting!

FAVE GUEST POST

And lastly the most pinned, most loved guest post was of course by my girl Kristen from House of Luciano with her awesome eyelash curling tutorial!

Thanks for visiting over the past year! Cheers to more faves, more invitations, more fabulous weddings and tutorials!

VALENTINE'S DAY GLOW!

Happy Valentine's Day! Hope everyone gets something sparkly and fabulous from their special someone (ok secretly I'm hoping I get something sparkly and that a special guy is reading the blog today, wink wink)...

So the northeast is under what feels like a hundred feet of snow and Avy Gravy and The Dude are on their second consecutive snow day, naturally they are disappointed that they will have to wait until next week to share their valentines with their friends. But here's a sneak peak at The Dude's. I don't like to do candy (intense fear of sending someone with an allergy into anaphylactic shock) and what kid doesn't love a glow stick?

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MODERN NEON KID'S WRAPPING, PART 2

And today we are celebrating another one of my niece's birthdays (I have 19 nieces and nephews, seriously....19) so Avy wanted to use the yellow neon wrapping paper (see Part 1 here) for her gift...but we decided since this is her first birthday to just do something a little sweeter and softer with baby pink satin ribbon and gold glittery butterflies. Wrap your box, tie your bow off center, glue butterflies (or flowers, etc.) to the knot and slide an envelope under the bow.

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Cheers!

Catherine

EASY PAINTED ONESIE WITH FREEZER PAPER

Hand made gifts are great but I'm definitely not a fan of crafty, patchworky ridiculousness so when I make a gift I have the intention of making a piece of art not a "craft"....but that doesn't have to mean you need special skills or talent to achieve beautiful and meaningful results. This is a SUPER easy and adaptable baby gift that every new mom will love. 

HAND PAINTED FREEZER PAPER ONESIE 

What you need: 

a onesie 

freezer paper 

flexible fabric paint 

craft knife 

sponge for stenciling 

1. Gather all of your supplies, check! 

2. Choose an image to paint on your onesie, I chose a horse but you could choose a silhouette of any animal, a basic shape or you could even do bold graphic words or letters (monogram.)  Cut a piece of freezer paper to 8.5x11. Print out the image directly on the freezer paper the exact size you want it to appear. Freezer paper is just coated paper so it will run through almost any printer.

3. Cut out the image using a craft knife. 

4. Lay the freezer paper stencil on your onesie wherever you wish (mine wrapped from the front around to the back) and iron it using your regular household iron. Be sure all the little pieces are ironed completely to the fabric so you avoid any paint bleeding underneath the stencil. 

5. Use the foam "brush" and the flexible fabric paint to fill in the image. Usually 2 coats works well but be sure to allow the first coat to dry before applying the second. After the second coat is completely dry peel the freezer paper off the onesie....it will come off cleanly and not leave behind any residue. 

Wrap it with a bow and a tag and be sure to include washing directions (read your brand of paint's instructions for first time washing, etc. } And there you have it...an adorable and unique baby gift from the heart!

Cheers! 

Catherine

 

NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION

So the wrong size envelopes arrived for my kids' ART MEETS SUPERHERO BIRTHDAY PARTY invitations. Rather than order new envelopes I took a quick trip to the craft store this morning and picked up a rainbow of 12x12 paper to make my own. The invitations are 5x10 which is oversized and I don't keep envelopes that large in stock.

Armed with my paper I found some washi tape with a superhero theme to seal the envelopes! It matches the invitations so perfectly. I love when things come together so perfectly after a disaster!

Tutorial to come about how to make your own envelopes and how to address your envelopes with your handwriting.   

Cheers! 

Catherine

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