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Holiday Card 2012

December 21, 2012 — 10 Comments

It is time to finally share our holiday card for this year…


We posed in our normal location (the Living Room) and this year we thought we would show a little bit more of the kids personalities, starting with a certain 3 1/2 year old girl. In the last year I have begun to understand the drama of a little girl. Little boys have their own issues, but the emotions of a 3 year old girl are hard to beat. So when Maisie started making this face a couple of weeks before the photo shoot, I knew that we had to use it. When the day of the photo actually came, she was reluctant to pout in front of the camera, not that she was willing to smile either. Although in the end her brother was actually more difficult. He loves his costumes, but he wasn’t happy with the agreed upon outfit. He wanted to be wearing even more stuff! The surprise of the shoot were the cats, who both came to visit while we were working on it, so we just snapped their pictures, without any treats!

The Details

We always try to put in some fun details.

1. This year Mr. S. decided that bunny slippers were in order. We actually only bought 1 pair. Since, everyone is shot separately, we passed them around.

2. This is the first year that we didn’t put up the big tree for the shoot. Instead we used the little silver tree that is now sitting on the piano. We also brought in the chair from the Dining Room and the extra side table from the front porch.


3. The painting above the mantel this year is The Treaty of Penn with Indians by Benjamin West, painted in 1772. Benjamin West was from just down the road from here.

4. Mr. S. is reading a vintage copy of Robinson & Crusoe from our book shelf.

5. Maisie is wearing the antenna from her ladybug Halloween costume, while I am trying to fix her costume.

6. On some of the outtakes we are all wearing fake mustaches.


7. The fire in the fireplace use to be fake but we now have gas logs, so it is actually real.

8. The photo is comprised of 7 or 8 photos, put together in Photoshop by my super talented Mr. S. In reality we shoot a couple hundred photos to get the right combination. Here are a few of my favorites:








To see some of our previous cards: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday! I’m off to see if I can get the rest of the coatrack up before family starts arriving.




Holiday Photo Shoot

November 27, 2012 — 2 Comments

Well we managed to get our holiday photo shoot finished and mostly edited over the weekend.  It took the most part of the day (not including editing). Fortunately with a bit of cajoling everything went well.

Our little helper

I don’t think the kids have a future in acting since their attention span is quite short and they kept asking when we could be done.

The Kids in Between Shots

The best participants this year were the kitties! Both stopped in for their shots unprompted (usually their photos involve a fair number of treats).

On a sad note, I am away right now visiting the great state of Iowa attending my Grandfather’s funeral. He lived to be 96, which is pretty impressive. Sharp as a tack until the end. He will be missed!


So here is it for those who were waiting patiently….

I would like to wish everyone a joyous holiday season!


If you are one of my family member and you haven’t received our card yet, they are in the mail (really!).

For this year’s card we decided to move everyone around the scene. And since Mr. S. & I still prefer the blocks to our kids it only seemed fitting that we should be playing with them.

The colorful blocks are the Alexander Girard Alphabet Blocks by House Industries. These were one of the first things we bought for Sam (even before he was born). They are a little pointy on the corners so they only come out on special occasions. They have carved letters, hand silk screens puzzle and letters. Plus one side has the beautiful carved suns on it (one of the things Alexander Girard is most famous for).

Girard Blocks

Girard Suns

*To see all of our holiday cards click here. Does anyone have a favorite?

**I will be posting a few things next week in between all of the family time.


Holiday Card Part 4: 2010

December 21, 2011 — 1 Comment

Holiday Card 2010

Our 2010 card was inspired by Maisie. She was starting to get into everything including all of the Christmas lights and ornaments. Sam was very excited to be wrapped up in lights and make a face. Maisie was tricky to shoot since she didn’t want to stand still. She is dressed in one of my childhood dresses.

Interesting tidbit is that the “painting” over the fireplace is of Fonthill, where we were married. Our TV is actually mounted over the fireplace. We change out the “painting” depending on the year. In 2009 the painting was of George Washington visiting Bartram’s Garden (the 18th Century Home of John Bartram a famous naturalist and botanist) which is nearby in Philadelphia.

*To see all of our holiday cards click here.

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2009 Holiday Card

In our 2009 card we returned to our Living Room fireplace. The card was inspired by Sam’s love of music. Interesting tidbit is that Sam’s guitar is actually fake. At the time he had a little yellow plastic one, that was pretty ugly. That year he actually got a 1/2 size real electric guitar, which he still enjoys playing, although the only thing he has mastered is his rock face.

Christmas Morning 2009: Sam's New Guitar

Here is a picture of the kids rocking out last winter (a band is the works)…

Our Little Musicians in January 2011

As you can see, this is much closer to how the house normally looks with a 2 & 4 year old.

*To see all of our holiday cards click here.

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2008 Holiday Card

I can’t believe Christmas is less than a week away! So much to do, but I can’t wait to celebrate the holiday with the kids.

This Christmas Card from 2008 was probably our most elaborate. It involved buying a dirndl  for my pregnant belly and lederhosen for Mr. S.  It was inspired by Sam’s Halloween costume (Alpine boy) and our trips to Germany around the holidays.

The picture itself involved using a white backdrop and adding the entire scene behind us using Photoshop, which meant LOTS of work for Mr. S. So Although we did enjoy the outcome we have decided that we should stick to using our Living Room for the foreseeable future. I think my favorite part is our cats Spike and Spot driving the Isetta (which is a tiny BMW in case you were wondering).

Alpine Sam from 2008 was the inspiration

As a side note I have to mention that if you ever have the chance to go to Europe (especially Germany, Austria & Alsace France ) right before Christmas and hang out in the Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market) do it! It is so lovely! It is everything that Christmas should feel like. There are outdoor markets that sell all sorts of things from lovely ornaments and crafts to tacky Christmas presents. Perhaps the best part is the Glühwein (hot mulled wine) and the sugared almonds. There are also lots of festive decorations, often in beautiful historic squares. Suddenly you don’t feel so cold sipping the Gluhwein while all bundled up! Ahhh….I wish I was there now.

Collage from our 2005 Trip to Munich

*To see all of our holiday cards click here.

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One of the things that our family is known for is our holiday photo. We (I mean mostly Mr. S.) have been creating a holiday scene every year since Sam’s first Christmas in 2007.  We have tried a few different things in the last few years but have now set some ground rules.

1. We always take the photo in our Living Room in front of the fireplace. (I suppose this means that we can never move.)
2. Create a different scene each year.
3. All members of the family must be included (including Spot and Spike).
4. Try to have fun!
5. Shoot the photo the weekend after Thanksgiving so that we have enough time to get it finished.

It takes quite a bit of planning to come up with a theme and to get everything set up. We have also reshot some of our photos when things haven’t worked out. It also requires LOTS of patience to get the kids to stand still long enough to get a shot (this year involved bribing them with waffles and snacks). There is also of course some Photoshop magic thrown in to complete the scene. I am not going to unveil this year’s card quite yet, since we just got them back from the printer’s yesterday afternoon, and no one except us has seen it. I thought I would put each year up individually. Enjoy!

Anyone else have any fun holiday photo traditions?

*To see all of our holiday cards click here.

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BBQ Invite

September 6, 2011 — Leave a comment

Mr. S. made me a beautiful invite for our neighborhood BBQ this past weekend. He modified an awesome Victorian font called Eventide from the House Industries Photo Lettering website. The website allows you to make amazing titles and words in a bunch of great fonts and lets you customize the colors and details. So for a few bucks you can you own customized heading! I am still trying to think of places where I can use this around the house! We love House Industries over here and honored that they included the invite on their blog this morning. If you haven’t seen the cool things that they make (in addition to all of the fonts), I definitely recommend checking them out. We also own several of their prints and a set of the Alexander Girard blocks.

Other info: The house picture was originally drawn by me in Autocad when we were trying to visualize the siding for the house (and explain to the contractor what we wanted it to look like). Mr. S brought it into Illustrator for coloring and tweaking. The patterns and font are all very Eastlake Victorian, which is a perfect match to our house.

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