Brand new Quilted Fabric Frame Sewing Pattern!

Brand new Quilted Fabric Frame Sewing Pattern!

I am so excited about my newest sewing pattern!  I have been thinking about making a fabric frame for years.  In fact, I made a version once to appear in a friend’s sewing book but we decided to do a different project instead.  That frame stuck in my head though and I actually knew that I could make a much better version.  Here is the result!   My sister in law, Jennifer Stein, is a great photographer and she is responsible for all these cute photos of my kids 🙂  This new pattern is simple and quick in its most basic form, but one of the best things about the quilted fabric frame pattern is the fun you can have with scraps and fun fabric combinations.   One of my favorite frames is this version above made using binding.  It really frames the frame!   I used Jeni Baker’s binding technique but a traditional binding would also work really well. The directions in the pattern create a frame for a 5” x 7” photo.  But the pattern also gives extra instructions to create a frame for a 4” x 6” and 8.5” x 11” version.  You can also use the measurements given to create a frame of any size!  The one above is made with tabs and hung on a dowel rod.  Super simple and stylish! This one below hangs on the dowel rod and has fun trim added.  The trim is such a fun addition! Head on over to my pattern shop to get our newest pattern!  I can’t wait to see what you...

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It’s getting blogged anyway

It’s getting blogged anyway

This skirt really is cute.  I promise.  It’s made from this pretty fabric from Blend.  It has big adorable pockets made from vintage ticking (pockets are based on the Sally Dress Pattern).  It’s a little long,  but it actually does look really cute on her.  The only problem is that I have a short amount of time to photograph and I have to deal with a 2 year old model who is very single minded. Who would only wear this stained tank top.  Who refused to stop brushing her teeth.  Who won’t let me pull her hair back.  Who is wearing shoes 2 sizes too big and won’t change.  Who likes to wear her skirts way down under her belly or pulled up super high.  She is my 4th child and I know better than to fight with her over these things that 1.) do not cause any safety problems or health risks, and 2.) Keep her happy and cause less drama in our home. This is real life and it’s getting blogged anyway!    By the way- she loves this skirt and wears it all the time!   I am almost positive that you are not inspired to make this skirt since these pics make it look like a sack.  But just in case… I started with a 15” x WOF piece of fabric.  The pockets are about 10” x 7”.  I folded the 10” width in half, RST, and sewed them together.  I left the bottom edge of the pocket unfinished and closed it up when I made the hem.  The hem is 1.25” total- folded it under .25” first and then another 1”.  The waist band is made with 3/4” elastic.  The waist band cassing is 1”. I’d love to see your crazy model photos!  email them to me and we can share on the facebook...

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Staging Lucky

Staging Lucky

Something I have been thinking about lately is how to take better photographs of my sewn things.  Especially things that I made a pattern for since I want people to be able to envision making one for themselves.  The other day I sewed up a new Lucky Elephant pillow and experimented with “staging”.  Instead of just the plain background, I added some things to make him more stylish and also show his size.  I will show you the winner first~ Cute huh?  After using the books I thought of changing the spines to have the title and that is my favorite part!  Here is the other winner that isn’t the title but made the product page in my pattern shop~ I think this one above is really my favorite but but I needed something more square for the title to look good on the whole GIngercake pattern page. I thought you might enjoy seeing the progression of “staging” pictures to get to these final ones.  Let me know what you think!  Did I choose the best?  Can you see the changes? This first one is really good too… They are all pretty good, right?  That was kind of like that game, What is different in these pictures?  I really fussed over this and for once, I think it was worth it.  Do you think it is worth a couple hours of precious nap time to take the perfect photo of something?  Not only the photo taking, but the editing, too.  Only time will tell if more people buy this classic Gingercake Sewing Pattern.  I know that I like looking at him on my website more now 🙂...

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Great Big Tote Bags by BeachBabyDesign

Great Big Tote Bags by BeachBabyDesign

This morning I got an email from Tina of Beach Baby Design on Etsy.  She wanted to let me know that she made some great big totes (a pattern from my book, Sewing to Sell) and listed them in her etsy shop.  These are so fun, summery and beachy, I really wanted to share.  Head over to Tina’s Shop to read more about these fabulous bags (and zipper pouches- another pattern from Sewing to Sell!) You can click on the photos to take you directly to the listing.  It’s hard to get your product found on etsy, but Tina has a leg up with these bright photos that are well staged (the pool to envision yourself poolside with these cute bags!).   Great job...

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She’s got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

She’s got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

I really wanted to try out my new camera skills from the ShootFlyShoot class.  So, I had to make a dress for my girl to photograph her in of course!  These photos were taken in manual mode with very little adjustment in my PSE so I am thinking it’s a win so far! This is the danslalune smock dress that I have had for many years.  It is very simple to make and more carefully drafted than some “free” tutorials of making this style of dress.  I feel like it is worth buying the pattern since the fit is better.   I used some April Rhodes Arizona Fabric for the arms and pocket.  THe grey is a lightweight corduroy from Joanns.  Marion is REALLY into pockets.  In fact- she was kinda mad this dress only had one pocket.  This is my new favorite hair style on her a la Glitter + Wit.  Nothing cuter than a sticking up straight pony tail! I had a lot of fun embroidering this dress and thinking of her wearing it.  She (and all my kids) have been sick over the last week and when she was back to normal it was like the sun was shining for all of us again.  To make the embroidery, I created the fonts (American Typewriter and Rock Salt) on a page in PSE and then printed it on a piece of paper.  I then backlit the paper and traced it onto the fabric.  You can back light the paper and fabric by holding it up to a sunny window.  Since it was night, I made it work by using my book light app on my iphone.  Worked great! I will admit freely that my 2 year old is getting away with murder everyday.  Look at this face!  She has become the BOSS.  There is something about being older, having the big ones away at school already and the adorable way she orders all of us around.  Sometimes it occurs to me that I may be creating a monster but then I just laugh it off.   I’ll deal with that later!  For now, we will just adore her in all her 2 year old bossy (excuse me- leadership oriented) glory....

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Confessions of a Photography Faker

Confessions of a Photography Faker

That’s right!  I am a faker when it comes to photography.  I have not taken the time to really learn.  I did read half of my manual for my new (used) Rebel T3i but promptly forgot everything I learned and fell back in my same old faker habits.   What are these habits? I only use my nice camera in settings where I know my photo will turn out well I DO have my setting on manual but I NEVER change the settings because they scare me I have gotten really lazy and use my Iphone more than my nice expensive (for me) camera. I cannot shoot indoors unless it is by my very large windows in my living room (this means all winter birthday and christmas morning is shot with an iphone even though I have a really nice camera!) Do those things sound familiar to you?  My very talented photographer sister in law taught me my basic tricks and I have been too lazy and afraid to learn more.  But NO MORE!  Last night I stayed up until 1:00 in the morning (since my house was finally quiet) and I watched this ecourse by Shoot Fly Shoot that is part of the Ultimate DIY Bundle.  Holy Smokes you guys!  Why have I been such a baby all these years about learning about my camera?  This stuff is not rocket science after all… First of all- those 2 guys who teach the course are adorable with their gentle southern accents and hipster tee shirts.  Second, they are really good instructors!  I am so excited to finally use my nice camera with confidence.   The course is broken down into 10 or so short videos so you can watch in segments.  Honestly I would recommend watching it all within a few days so you don’t lose any of the information- then go back and watch for refreshers if you want.  This class is $67 on it’s own so having it part of this $34.95 bundle is pretty amazing. Another photography resource in the bundle that I read through and REALLY liked was Say NO to Auto.  This ebook is only 18 pages long and gives you a really good and simple guide to taking photos in manual in certain scenarios.  Lazy ole me has been looking for this for YEARS!  Now that I have binge watched the  Photography 101  ecourse, I feel more confident to figure it out myself but I think combining Kristen Duke’s recommendation and my new ecourse knowledge is goning to give me the boost I need to take my photography to the next level.   There are other photograpy resources available in the Ultimate DIY bundle- including Spaghetti Shots, and Snapping...

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Sally, meet Norah. Norah, meet Sally.

Sally, meet Norah.  Norah, meet Sally.

Miss M doesn’t have many long sleeve clothes that fit her right now.  I am pretty sure a load of hand me downs is coing my way soon, but for now, I decided to sew a few things for her from my collection of existing patterns.  Have you ever mixed a couple of patterns you liked to make the perfect garmet for your needs?  It’s really nice to pick and choose.  A couple of weeks ago I made a norah tunic for Marion and it turned out really cute.  I like the tunic version (i’ll have to share the one I made soon!) but I didn’t want to make the dress version with this fabric.   Last year I made the Sally Dress for Anne by Very Shannon.  The boxy neckline and big pockets are SO ADORABLE!  I love the dress but honestly felt baffled by some of the instructions.  (shh!  sometimes garmet constrcution throws me for a loop!)  So,  I like how the sally dress looks, but how simply the Norah dress is made!  Solution?  Just combine the 2, right! So, I made the bodice the way Shannon suggested, but added the sleeves the way Hayley suggested.  AND,  I added the skirt the way Rae says to do it in the Geranium dress!  I also used the length of Hayley’s sleeves to make the Sally dress have long sleeves.   Sometimes I forget that patterns can just be used as a stepping stone to making things your own way that best suits how you like to sew and exactly what you want to make.  I do that all the time with my pillows and bags but it doesn’t always occur to me with sewing clothes.   About my fabric choices:  I used the adorable Madrona Road by Violet Craft for the pockets.  I used mini pom pom trim from Pick Your Plum for the bodice trim.  A little tough that trim!  Very tiny seam so be careful.  Not sure if it is really supposed to be used for sewing since it’s from pick your plum but I thought it was when I bought it!  The body fabric is from JoAnns.  It has a really cute tiny stripe and is only $5 a yard right now!  The drape is really nice.   A Photography note-  I finally got my self and Miss M going early and took this photos before the school bus even came this morning.  The golden hour truly does make a difference in photography!  I have known it forever but never seemed to get motivated to get out there to photograph so early (or so late!)  Another bonus-  I didn’t even edit these photos!!!  That is amazing and made...

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Taking Beach Vacation Photos- Simple Strategies!

Taking Beach Vacation Photos- Simple Strategies!

This past week, we went to the Outer Banks in North Carolina.  My husband’s family has gone there for years and love the beautiful beaches and familiarity.  Going through my photos, I thought it might be helpful if I shared some easy beach trip photo taking tips.   Don’t worry!  Nothing technical!  Just some simple strategies to get nice photos of your vacation. My first and most important tip is to get your family down to the beach after dinner and take your photos in the hour before the sun sets.  The light is lovely and the refelctions on the water are beautiful. I took photos on 2 different nights and the one above was from a truly beautiful sunset and the light and reflections made everyone and everything look wonderful.  Second- less sand and more water/ sky.  In all the photos above, I cropped sand and went for more sky/ water.  It is simply more beautiful! Unless you are getting close ups, try to get the entire body of your subject in the photo.  Cropping out sides of limbs makes the photo less whole looking.  My son played in the ocean but his favorite past time was digging, digging, digging!  I’m glad I documented him with his favorite shovel on this trip. Try to capture some adults too!  The kids are so darn cute but the whole family will appreciate seeing grown ups and remember what Dad looked like back then (we are getting old so fast!).  Also, in the above photo, I cropped it for more water/ sky AND I made the fish and my husband is not in the center like the original photo that I took.  This makes the ocean/ waves and fish also important subjects in the photo.   Capture special frendships!  These 2 cousins were great buddies on the trip!  Again, I cropped the photo a little off center so the beach is also part of the photo and it looks more spontaneous. I debated wether or not to include this one, but years from now, I think she will appreciate being part of the story!  Her sad face and cropped limbs are not ideal but this is real, baby!  She hated the sand and the threat of the water.  Poor little one! All pictures except the one above were taken the hour before sunset with my nice DSLR camera and a 50mm lens.  The above photo was taken mid day with an iPhone.   In my PSE program on my computer, I cropped out the ugly cement surround of the pool and the photo turned into this gem!  Sometimes those iphone shot can be just as wonderful as the fancy camera, right? SEE?  no...

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A Love Affair: a Boy and his Dog

A Love Affair:  a Boy and his Dog

There is a love affair happening at our house.  The relationship between a boy and his dog is powerful and adorable.  Our puppy is now 7 months old and this is as close as Cal is getting to a brother… That is a stalk from a brussel sprout plant from last year’s garden they are playing with!  See all those soccer balls in the yard?  They even play soccer together.  These photos also show how lush spring is here and although the winter was long and awful, this spring is glorious!  Having a puppy at our house has been wonderful and terrible at the same time.  Here, on this blog of happy times, we only share the wonderful becuase that is how we want to remember things, right?          ...

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KCW- Front Buttoned Smock

KCW- Front Buttoned Smock

It's a sewing miracle that I participated in KCW!  I think KCW is a great idea and I love seeing all the clothes people make for their kids.  For some silly reason, I always have something else happening and I can't join in the fun.  But this year I am back… I did another shirt from the Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids book.  This one is called the Front-buttoned Smock.  Like the pull over parka, instructions are vague in the book, but the pattern pieces fit together beautifully and I love the finished shirt. My middle daughter is really fun to sew for.  She loves everything and then she will always ham it up in our photo shoot.   Actually sometimes it is hard to get her to just take regular shots so we often start taking about math class or how she did on the monkey bars during recess at school.   Or, I have to make her sweep off the front walk!  She is a good sport though and always complies.  This is another reason that sewing for 8 year olds is awesome!  Did you read Monica's post today about a trying to get photos of her toddler?  So perfect! I sewed this in size 8 (the largest size for this book).  I used a shirting fabric from the apparel section of Joann Fabrics.  It took a little less than a yard, which is always awesome although this fabric was 60'' wide.   When sewing for older kids, quilting cotton is just too bulky and stiff for their clothing and you really need to make the switch.  I can still get away with quilting weight for the baby though! My buttons and placket are not perfect and I fretted a little about it.  But, in the end, I just finished the shirt even though it is flawed and it still looks great.  I love the sleeves and the pretty gathered neckline.  It is a little frilly but not too much- perfect for my easy going girl.  Thanks for getting me motivated...

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Flower Girls & Photos

Flower Girls & Photos

Both of my sister in laws are doing photos every day over on Flickr.  Jenny has been doing photography for a long time and her captures are truly inspirational.  My younger sister in law Maureen is just starting out and she is showing lots of talent too!  She took the photo above and the one of Marion below.  These are both with my camera but my photos never turn out this good! In other news, we are leaving for a family wedding in near San Francisco later today.  My stomach is in knots thinking about how I am going to deal with my very cute but extremely wiggly 9 month old on the plane for so long.  If you are flying to San Francisco from Pittsburgh today, I appologize in advance for the crying baby.  I am excited to see San Francisco though!  I have been working on the flower girl dresses… The wedding is in a garden and the bride wanted to keep it natural.  She chose the orange linen and we worked on this style with some photos for inspiration.  I think they turned out really sweet and the girls feel so excited to be part of the wedding. I made 8 of them and a matching bow tie and belt for Calvin since he is the ring bearer.  It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be~  especially with my new machine!  Wish me luck on that...

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Hello September!!

Hello September!!

Boy oh Boy.  I can't remember the last time I went a whole month without blogging.  It's true that regular blogging brings on more blogging but now I feel like I have to make a huge long post to catch up.  But a small blog post is a start to get back in the groove so here we go! We had a 2 week lake vacation which was wonderful.  I took lots of instagram pictures!  Here are a few… It was so nice and relaxing.  A little colder than I would have liked but still a great time!  Hopefully more catching up later in the...

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Red Patchwork Bag Experiment

Red Patchwork Bag Experiment

I made a cute new duffle bag for Anne out of my red scraps.  I have been interested in a camera experiment for awhile and I finally decided to try it out.  Here is the question: Can my iphone really take a photo of my sewn item that is as good as my DSLR camera?  I used the best light possible-on my front porch with indirect bright light.  I photographed on different days since the push for me to finally do this was that my battery died in my big camera.  SO… this is not really a perfect comparison but pretty good! 4S iphone version… For both photos, I edited them in Photo Shop Elements.  I brightened the levels and shadows and did automatic sharpening. Cannon Rebel DSLR with a 50mm lens… Yes, the DSLR photo looks better but the iphone version is pretty good.  Good enough to get plenty of attention on facebook and instagram!  Here is the question- Do you need an expensive DSLR camera to successfully photograph your sewn creations?  What do you think?  I am thinking, for someone just beginning a handmade sewing business, you can get by with an iphone for awhile if you set up your photos with good...

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January Birthday Girl

January Birthday Girl

Anne turned 7 last week.  I won't give my usual "time marches on" speech but I am feeling it.  She is a precious girl ~ happy and sweet and full of generosity.  She also has a new side to her that Travis and I are noticing.  Her big sister likes to be ready for the bus EARLY.  Like 20 minutes early.  This is not important to Anne and she is showing a strong aversion to being rushed.  She waits to put on her coat.  She lingers over hugs to the baby.  She slowly ties her shoes.  She wanders around looking for papers and books as the time gets closer.  This drives Elsie crazy and Anne knows it.  Anne has always just done whatever Elsie wants.  I try to smooth things over by reminding Elsie that there is plenty of time.  I don't enjoy seeing Elsie unhappy but I do like to seeing the middle child show her own determination (even though it is a little passive aggressive at this point).  A little backbone is always encouraged and this 7 year old has certainly got it! We had a bowling party with the cousins.  So fun and easy! Having an amazing photographer for a sister in law (and great friend) is such a blessing.  Thank you Jenny for taking these photos of the bowling experience and the birthday girl.  You captured it perfectly as usual.  Jenny is posting pictures on her blog daily right now and they are great inspiration.  Check it out for sure! Happy Birthday my little...

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More About the Pom Pom Owl Purses

More About the Pom Pom Owl Purses

This weekend I am doing the Handmade Arcade again.  This will be my 4th time doing the show!  Before you think I am total nut doing a craft show only a few weeks after having a baby, I made all my stuff back in Septmeber and I am happily resisting the urge to sew a single other item before the show.  It feels so wierd to have a show in only 2 days and not doing any last minute stressy sewing.  When I say wierd, I mean it feels really great! This time I made all my owl bags with pom poms for the show.  Remember this cute bag?  I worked out how to make it easier by tacking the pom poms on with steam a seam light.  This was great and made the process much faster.  You have to cut the steam a seam into sections to get around the curve.  Once the poms poms are attached, then you sew the 2 sides together and DO NOT trim your seams down.  The last time I trimmed my seams and ended up with several poms poms falling off and it's pretty tedious sewing those little suckers back on by hand.   Also,  Vanessa let me preview her brilliant new photography ebook a couple of weeks ago.  I really recommend it to help you take photos of your sewn creations.  She talks quite a bit about staging and photo editing.  These tips are simple and useful!  To show some of the "behind the scenes" I took a picture of my staging to share with you… I use the hooks for the towels in the bathroom.  The backdrop is the coat closet by my front door.  I open my front door to get better light (even though it was 27 degrees outside!).  This is my best location to get a wider shot of my creations even though the natural light is only mediocre. The first photo I lightened up in PSE and second I just did in my iphoto.  I had to really work on all those shadows! Vanessa is giving away a copy of her ebook for sew mama sew giveaway day so head over to her blog and leave a comment for a chance to win!     Related articles Boppy Cover Newborn Baby Gowns Sewing Tutorial Tiny Fork Pom Pom's Winter...

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These Days…

These Days…

The newborn baby days go by in a blur.  We sit on the couch together so much!  I am enjoying her so much.  My other 3 kids were born so close together it almost seems like I was a different person back then- dealing with a baby and 2 toddlers did not make for peaceful days on the couch.  Jenny took more beautiful pictures here.  This one is in the nursery with all my "stuff" around. and guess what??  The newborn baby gowns fit beautifully.  That was a relief since I made like 6 of...

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In Progress and Taking Advice

In Progress and Taking Advice

  This is going to be one awesome pattern if I ever get it done.  It has been over a year since I first made one of these.  I am wondering if it is too complicated but all the pictures are already taken and uploaded to my computer so I am going to move forward!  This afternoon begins the writing of the pattern.  A process that I love and hate at the same time since it is hard work but really satisfying to create a good pattern. In other news, I participated in Jen's "try it" flickr group.  Cal was still in his PJs and the light was pretty meager but I figured I could just try since waiting for the sun to shine in January in Western PA could take weeks!  Also, I took Vanessa's advice and bought a fliter/ reflector that not only softens bright sunlight but also will reflect a little light to give a better affect.  The result was a great capture of my boy.  He is "framed" by the table in the background and I used the reflector side to give extra light to his face.  I took about 50 pictures to try this out and this one was the first!  What have you been trying out lately? Jenny is going to do a series on this "try it" theme and I am looking forward to getting more tips!  Check out her flickr page to see how beautifully she photographs her children (and mine since they are her neices and nephew!)...

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Farmland Christmas Decorating

Farmland Christmas Decorating

I love my new iphone.  Cal and discovered this snowman while running errands and we had to get a picture.  Isn't it awesome?  It is 3 hay bales stacked on top of each other.  The hat is a feed bucket.  The carrot nose is a construction cone.  He only has one arm!   I grew up in the atlanta suburbs where all the decorations were candles in the windows, a wreath on the door and a spotlight on the tasteful elegant brick home.   It's fun to be a little tacky in the country!  So, are you a tacky or tasteful decorator?...

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Christmas Cookies Anyone? Cookie Party 2011

Christmas Cookies Anyone?  Cookie Party 2011

Whew!  Another cookie party has come and gone.  Those are my cookies above.  I did all the same things as last year.  I even used the same invitations!  Lame.  I know.  I wanted to add "wear your most obnoxious christmas sweater" to the invite but worried the christmas sweater wearing types might not think it was so funny!  Maybe next year I will be braver 🙂 That's all the cookies- well almost all since I bought a sideboard/ buffet this year that held some additonal trays.  I love seeing everyone arrage their cookies and walk around tasting.   As usual we voted after everyone had tasted and looked and discussed.  The voting is VERY secretive.  Just kidding- everyone blah blah blahs about who they voted for.   We also had cute kid entertainment during all this action… And finally the votes were tallied and the winners announced! Not my best picture of these excellent bakers!!!  They are holding my prizes which I forgot to get a good picture of.  They were cute patchwork pot holders and sanding sugar my friend Karen got from Amish country.  Michelle won best all around cookie AGAIN.  Her cookie was a peanut butter chocolate revel.  That's like 8 years in a row folks!   Aven won best tasting for a delicious light and fluffy orange buttermilk cookie.  And Mary (Michelle's mom!) won most beautiful cookie for her pretty truffles.  I only got a picture of the truffles and they are beautiful! Aren't those poinsettas so pretty?  One of our newcomers was 13 year old Syndey and her mom Wendi who made 80 beautifully decorated sugar cookies.  That's a lot of mom/ daughter bonding!  The result was some really cute cookies. I really toned down my Christmas decorating this year.  I even gave a big bag of decorations to the Goodwill.  Is this some kind of milestone in my life?  Instead of accumilating Christmas decorations, I am finally getting rid of them!  Or maybe I am just getting wise to less is more (and less clean up in January!). I am fascinated by people who can take good pictures of their trees.  How do they do that?  I decided to experiment a little.  Here is pretty good one of mine from the party… Our tree has been named "chubba wubba" by the kids.  I usually go for a taller and thinner tree but in a moment of pretending like I don't like to be in charge of everything (haha-but it's true!)  I let Travis and the kids choose this chubby short tree.  It's still cute though. Here is another picture of the tree at night that has a little more interest… Maybe night is the...

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