Category: Blog

Mermaids are REAL!

I have been having a blast with these little cuties at the beach. These little girls just light up when they put on the tail.

Our mermaid sessions are more like a mermaid party! The photo session includes:

  • 20-30 minute session (or 1 hour group session. Limit 4 mermaids)
  • 4 retouched web size digital images for sharing
  • 2- 8×10 prints (same image)
  • $125 deposit to reserve your spot

$225 for first mermaid and $25 each additional sibling mermaid up to 3.

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Now booking Marshal Scotty’s Mini Photo Sessions

You all know how much I love to dress up my kids in costumes, paint their faces or put makeup on them and then take their pictures. Well, I had a blast last year getting ready for Halloween!

This year I get to do it again and I get to bring YOU!

I am now booking mini photo sessions at Marshal Scotty’s Playland Park

This is a rare opportunity so if you have been thinking you want pics at the park you better act fast.
$150 ($75 deposit to reserve your spot)
September 15, 16, & 18
20 minute session.
You can wear a costume, be regular, whatever you want.
4 full res images with print release online gallery.
Up to 4 people per session, $25 each additional.
Text or call Michelle to book: 619-851-6333

Make sure you come visit  Scotty’s Scare Trail. It will be soooooo scary this year!

Here is my post from last Halloween…

Do you all remember the old Marshal Scotty’s Playland Park? It’s the old amusement park 2 exits up the 8 east, that was abandoned in the mid 1990’s.

I had the rare opportunity to take some photos there while they transformed it into Scotty’s Scare trail for Halloween. I was like a kid in the candy store.

I decided to make it into a scary picture story. Little Laney Lou went to Marshal Scary Scotty’s and met a clown.

Here is the story…

Little Laney Lou went to Marshal Scary Scotty’s to ride the Ferris Wheel. She loved the Ferris Wheel. She brought her doll Francis so she could have fun too.

She also got to ride the Little Dipper roller coaster.   She met a clown who liked to play dolls.

She followed the clown over the bridge and to the pool.

Laney Lou played life guard at the pool. She explored the changing rooms.

And they all lived hauntingly ever after…. or did they?

Another day in my life.

I Have Been Editing Baseball Photos

 

I have been spending quite a bit of time at the ball field. Teagan loves baseball and so does Brad.

So, since I love photography and I love Teagan and Brad, I take pictures at baseball.

It has been really fun and I have captured some great plays with my camera (some of our team and some of the other teams!).

I came home the first day and loaded them all in Lightroom to look at them. I thought they were pretty awesome but I wanted them to stand out. I wanted the parents to look at the photos and think “Wow, what an awesome picture of my kid.” So, I decided to take some time and add my artistic retouches. What are those you ask? Well, I will tell you.

It is called Retouching or Artistic Editing. It is where I take a great photo and make it into a work of art. I change the texture of the background so the player stands out. I change the colors and I highlight around the player. I sometimes blurr out things in the background to really bring the attention of the image to the player. I change the texture of the skin (my mom calls it greasy, oily, waxy) and I like to think it makes the player look tough or gritty. I even have gone so far as to change the sky. This is not a quick process but it is worth it. I will show you some before retouch and after retouch for comparison. I think you will like what you see

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Another day in my life.

 

Happy St. Patricks Day!

I love to make costumes and when I was a kid I loved being in the theater, doing plays and dressing up. Dude and I would put on a production every summer. We would make costumes and involve all the neighborhood kids in whatever play we were doing.  One summer we decided to do the theatrical production/lip-synch of our Alice in Wonderland vinyl record ( I am sure some of you have no idea what a record is).

We practice in the back yard every day. We even made costumes out of paper bags. We cut holes in the top for the neck and sides for the arms. We then painted them to look like the cards for the queen of hearts. Summers are pretty hot in San Diego. When our mom called us in for lunch one day, we left our record on the player, out in the sun. When we went back outside to practice, our record had warped!
That was the end of our Alice in Wonderland production. We were pretty upset.
So you get the idea where my creativeness to make costumes and dress people up comes from.
I got this leprechaun idea a couple years ago. My friend has little red head boys and I knew they would be perfect little leprechauns. I am pretty happy with the way the photos turned out and it was a lot of fun to do.
Here is what I did…
I bought the jackets at the thrift store.  I first tried dying them with fabric dye but that didn’t work. So, I resorted to spray paint. Then I washed them because I didn’t want the children to be breathing toxic spray paint jacket fumes. The spray-painted fabric actually washed pretty well. It was a little stiff. But the smell went away.
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Next I made the shoes. I took old tap shoes and a couple toilet paper rolls.  I then used brown duct tape and wrapped the shoes so they look like long pointy toed shoes. I got an old purse from the thrift store and cut the buckles off. I used those for the shoebuckles with a flap of Velcro so the kids could get them on and off.
They fit good and the kids loved them but they’re really hard to walk in!
The belts, well I couldn’t find kids belts so I used regular adult size belts.  I cut them down the back and sewed them together on the sewing machine so they were smaller.
I used the fabric from the curtains at my old house to make ascots. It’s just a tube of fabric that I wrapped around their neck like a scarf and tied it.
I bought the hats at Disneyland and wrapped them with fabric so they didn’t look like Tinkerbell and the Mad Hatter. I was going to make mini top hats, and found a really cool YouTube video, but I ran out of time.
The girl’s costume was a woman’s size small dress and a women’s lace top.  I pinched it up in the back with rubber bands and clips. She did’t understand the concept of the clips. She kept saying her dress didn’t fit her right. I told her it was only for dress up and that she didn’t have to wear it to school or anything. Then she said she liked it so much she wanted to wear it to school but the shoes would be hard to walk in!
I dug out some old brooches that I had in my jewelry box. I think they were my mom’s or I got them at an estate sale or something. I pinned those on the girl’s shirt and on one of the hats.
Now the make up, that was a little bit of work on the boys. They did not like nor understand the concept of wearing makeup. But once I showed them what they would like, they kind of liked it! I did end up having to bribe both the boys with promises of chocolate gold coins.  They were very disappointed that they couldn’t eat the gold coins that they were playing with in the pot.
My favorite part of the Photoshopping was the ears. That was super fun because they came out looking so real! And the fog. The fog was really fun to do and I think it gives it a creepy mystical effect.
I hope you enjoy my creepy little leprechauns. I’ve got a few other fun ones in the works and you’ll just have to wait to see what I do next.
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Another day in my life.

A Little About Chalk, Mineral and Clay Based Paint.

There are a lot of blogs and things on Pinterest about chalk and clay or mineral based paints.

I feel like I’ve watched every YouTube video there is on it. There are so many paints now to choose from where do you start?

Here are just some of the techniques and products that I have used. This is just what has worked for me so use your own ideas and go crazy.

First thing… I know they say you don’t have to sand and they are right. When I do pieced for myself, I don’t sand. But when I do a piece to sell, I lightly sand it. I mean barely rough it up. It doesn’t need much. This paint sticks like crazy. After I sand I clean my piece really well with TSP.

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Now the paint…

Okay, so it depends on what kind of look you want to achieve. My favorite kind of paint is DecoArt Americana Chalky Paint brand and you can find it at Michael’s. It cleans up with water and you don’t have to sand or prime. It adheres really well (even to the center console of your car if you are not careful). The bad part is after it is dry it will not wipe off with water so if you want to distress it you have to use sandpaper. You can’t layer your colors and wipe with a wet rag like you can with the brand American Paint Company, CeCe Caldwell & Annie Sloan. The other good thing is you can thin it with 1/4 water and use a sprayer and it goes on so smooth. it doesn’t come in a lot of colors so I have had to mix colors and be creative. They do have a handy mix chart on their website.
I layered paint on this stool and rubbed it off with a wet cloth. I also used Elmer’s glue and a heart gun to give it a crackle look.
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Let me get side tracked for a minute with the sprayer. Jenny at Little Green Notebook blogged about about this Critter Sprayer and it was only $40 on Amazon so I decided to try it. It was the best thing I have ever bought for painting furniture.
It hooks up to my air compressor and you put your paint in a mason jar. It is really easy clean up. (This is in my sing song voice) I lo-ove it!!
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Here are the before and after of a dresser and nightstand set I painted. I used APC Dollar Bill for my first coat and Dollar Bill mixed with 1/2 white (not sure which one) for my second coat. I used a wet rag to distress. I finished it with clear wax (it was before I discovered Soft Touch).
Here is the rundown on the paint:
  • My favorite is Americana from Michael’s. Vintage is my favorite color from Americana. I have a feeling it is acrylic, like the Folk Art Brand, but that doesn’t bother me as long as it adheres well. I used it to paint my bathroom cabinets and they look beautiful!
  • I use American Paint Co. (let’s call them APC) because I can buy it close to my home. I buy APC from my friend Janine at Thank You Dear Heart (she also does classes). What is great about APC  is you can paint on as many different colors in layers as you want and when it’s dry you can take a wet rag and wipe it down to give it a distressed look where all the different colors show through (you cannot do this with Americana). It comes in a bunch of different colors but I still have had to mix my own before. It goes on a little thick and I sometimes thin it with water. I always thin it with water when I use it in my Critter. I have even had to strain it before putting it in my Critter. If you don’t, your sprayer will clog. They make a great clear wax and I use their dark wax all the time.
  • I love CeCe Caldwell paint. I don’t use it as much because I have to order it online or drive 30 minutes to buy it. I like to use it in my Critter because it is really smooth and creamy. I do thin it with water for the sprayer (I usually don’t have to strain it) but no thinning when I brush it on. I love CeCe wax also.
  • Annie Sloan is the original and she has the trademark on the “Chalk Paint”. It is a nice paint and her Robin Egg Blue is mega popular. I have to drive way to far to get it and that is the main reason I don’t use it. Annie Sloan wax needs to be re-applied every 6 months to a year.
  • Joann is now carrying Folk Art Chalk paints. They are acrylic based but act just like chalk paints (no sanding or priming). I have used their clear wax (I had a coupon) and it worked pretty well. It was a little grainy when applied (not greasy smooth like CeCe or AMP) but it buffed out nicely. You cannot distress this paint with a wet rag, you have to sand to distress.
  • Martha Stewart has a line of chalk paints at Michael’s. I am going to try those next!

 

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Let’s talk about waxing versus varnish. I used to wax everything but now my favorite thing to do is use the Soft Touch Varnish by Americana. you can get it at Michael’s. With waxing you let your paint dry, brush on your wax and let that dry, and then later (they say 24 hours) you buff the wax to a sheen. Way too much work! With the varnish you wait for your paint to dry and then you paint it on with a brush (or spray it with your Critter sprayer). It gives it a finish that looks just like wax. I can’t tell the difference. Some people are worried about the smell. There is almost (if you have vampire smelling capabilities you will smell it faintly) no odor. It cleans up with water and it dries quick. No buffing! I have tried other top coats and varnish and they all say low sheen or satin and they still have a slight shine. The matte ones are too matte. This Soft Touch is like velvet.
For those of you who want all natural then you better stick to the wax. At least you will get a good workout. If you want a wax recommendation. I like APC & CeCe Caldwell. I have heard Annie Sloan wax needs to be re-applied over the years. I got smart and bought a brush attachment for my power drill and I use that to buff my waxed pieces.
Now dark wax is a different story. I love dark wax for aging and the antique look. You MUST clear wax or varnish your piece fist or the dark wax will go on REALLY dark and sometimes look dirty.

Here is the rule: You can wax over varnish but you CANNOT varnish over wax.

It took me quite a bit of research and trial and error to figure this out. I couldn’t find any bloggers or websites that really talked about it. They talk about waxing with clear before you dark wax but no one talks about varnishing and then waxing. I am telling you it is possible. I have done it a lot.

I found a guy that talked about waxing and varnishing his boat and he gave me more info than any chalk paint website I went to. I would give him some props but I can’t remember where he was.

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Here is the haps on the wax:
  • Americana makes a clear wax and I have not tried it. It was too liquidy in the bottle.  I just figured it would be too messy and why not use varnish if it was going to be drippy. I accidentally bought their dark wax thinking it was brown paint (I was in a hurry). It didn’t work like the dark wax from APC or CeCe. it was almost like a glaze. I am not a fan.
  • APC makes a great clear wax. It is greasy and goes on smooth. It reminds me of coconut oil when it is solid. It buffs out beautifully. I use their dark wax all the time. You only need a few ounces and that will last you for years. A little goes a long way.
  • CeCe makes a great one too. Pretty much the same as APC.
  • Annie Sloan wax is fragrance free and safe (so is APC and CeCe) but I have no tried it. I have read that it needs to be reapplied over the years to keep the finish.
  • Folk Art clear wax was HORRIBLE. It went on grainy and looked like I had rubbed paper towel all over my black paint. I had to use denatured alcohol and wipe it all off. I even sanded it a little and then repainted. I was pretty upset.

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This white Dixie Henredon French provincial set I picked up at an estate sale. I didn’t take many before pics but it is the set we all had if we were little girls in the 80’s. Dude had the canopy bed to go with it and I thought it was so cool.

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I sprayed it with Americana. The color I used is called Vintage. I finished it with Soft Touch. I then distressed it with dark wax. Just a little in the cracks and creases to make it look antique. I custom painted these for a customer. When she came to look at my furniture she backed over the fire hydrant near the bottom of my driveway. It was pretty exciting. I think that might be a blog for another day!

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Delaney liked to use this table for a lemonade stand. She really wants to keep it but I think it needs a new home. It is for sale. Contact me if you are interested. I used APC color Mama’s Kitchen for the green (I think I might have used some white to lighten it) and used a wet rag to distress it. I used Americanas Pink (mixed 1/2 with white) for the top and legs. I used sandpaper to distress it, then Soft Touch Varnish to seal it.

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I can’t forget to show you my bathroom cabinets. Here are the before and after. I bought a wood appliqué at Lowe’s and attached it with wood glue. I then painted with Americana Vintage, then Soft Touch Varnish. I then used APC dark wax and buffed when it was dry.

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I bought two kinds of drawer hardware. They didn’t match so I spray painted it all with an oil rubbed bronze spray paint and used a bronze acrylic paint to give the handles a vintage rub and buff look. The handle on the top is the finished product the gold and the one below the gold were the handles I bought on Ebay. I made a how to video but I have to figure out how to edit it before anyone can see it!

Last thing…

I also have known people who have made their own chalk paint.  You can get a recipe on Pinterest. I think it is acrylic paint with plaster of paris or something. The trouble I have had with homemade is that you have to sand it smooth between coats. Time is money and I would rather pay a little more for a pre made paint. I don’t have the patience to sand. I don’t love sanding and that is one reason I love these pre made paints.

So there is my run down of paint. Happy painting! Sorry about the typos. I am exhausted and my friend really needed this info. I am sure my mom and Dude will let me know where I made mistakes and I can edit this later! ha!

Another day in my life.

Don’t eat the Crème Brûlée sugar scrub!

My house smells amazing.

Brad says it is a little over powering. Everything is made and set up and I think we are ready. The sugar scrubs are made, the bath salts are ready and the I have made lots of Crème Brûlée candles. I think my favorite this year is the Crème Brûlée sugar scrub. It smells so good you think you could eat it but please don’t! Eeeewwww!

I have been busy promoting on Facebook. My friend Raquel Ramirez has been helping me boost my business and teaching me about social media. Sometimes I feel like my grandpa when he couldn’t figure out how to program the VCR. I will figure it out and then they will change it! haha.

Please check my Facebook page for coupons. I have coupons on there for $1 off tart bars, if you spend $10 you get a free gift and buy 4 pillars ($25 each) and get one free.

You know what? Since you are reading this I am going to go ahead and post them here.

Thanks for supporting me and my many businesses and my crazy ideas and my creative A.D.D. and my family and and and! It is because of you all that I get to do what I love.

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Another day in my life.

The Sale is coming…

I am so excited. Saturday is less than a week away and I think I am almost ready. I tried to be ready early but you know how that goes. I keep adding stuff. Oh, I could do this or I can do that and the next thing you know I am up until 4 am the night before the sale! Not this year. I am going to be ready!

I have some new items this year.

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Mason jars are so popular. So, I don’t want to disappoint.  I made 3 sizes of mason jar candles. I even went so far as to hand paint a few mason jars. My friends have already come over and have staked their claim to a few of them so I have an idea they are going to be popular!

I still have a few things to finish. I am making up some gift baskets to sell and I have to pour some more creme brulee tart bars. Other than that, I am ready!

I can’t wait to see all of you at the sale. I always have fun catching up with people I only see once a year.

Please check Facebook for coupons. You can print them or show them on your phone.

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Another day in my life.

I added to my shopping cart today!

Every year about this time, the orders start coming in and everyone asks “can I order off your website?”

Well, now… YES you can!!!

I spent the day taking product photos and adding to my shop inventory. I am creative and can usually figure things out but I am not always “computer savvy “.  After watching about 3 hours of YouTube videos on how this is done,  I think it should work.

I can ship to you or you can choose local pick up.

I couldn’t figure out how to do a “choose an option” category (all the YouTube videos are running together and my eyes burn) so this is going to have to do for now. I listed everything individually. If anyone is interested in trading WooCommerce help for candles, you let me know!

So, shop til you drop and I will see you at the sale on November 15th. Be there or be square.

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Another day in my life.

 

It is chalk and mineral paint, not chalkboard paint.

I took a chalk and mineral paint class a few weeks ago and it was so fun. I was hooked. This paint is not “chalk Board” paint, it is chalk paint. If you use 3 coats on a piece and you don’t seal it, then yes, you can write on it with chalk.

Before-furniture

nighstand-beforeAnyway, I bought this dresser and nightstand at the thrift store. It was pretty dated (some people call that vintage!) and I decided to give it a little face lift (some people call it upcycle).

You don’t have to sand and prep your piece but since it was my first attempt I did.

First:

  • I painted on a darker blue color called Dollar Bill by American Paint Company.
  • I then mixed in equal parts Linen by Cece Caldwell (white color) into my Dollar Bill paint.
  • My next coat was my mixed color.
  • I let it dry and then used a wet rag to wash it down and distress it the way I wanted.
  • I let that dry and then waxed it with Cece Caldwell’s cream wax.
  • I used American Paint Company Clear Coat on the top. I have been told to use that on high traffic surfaces.
  • 24 hours later I took my buffer brush attachment on my power drill and buffed it all (not the top with the clear coat) to a nice satin sheen.

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