The Creative Mama » inspiring art, encouraging women

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loved it! (28th edition)

The other night at our neighborhood Bunco game, we played dirty Santa. Don’t you love to play dirty Santa? I like the anticipation of unwrapping a gift, so I rarely steal from someone else. But alas, I pick a gift to unwrap and then usually end up with a gift that I otherwise would not have picked. (This year the best worst gift I opened was an ornament shaped like a piece of bacon, which I so generously gave to my bacon loving friend Allison!) After this year’s round of dirty Santa games, I’ve concluded that for any future games, I will play it dirty and steal someone else’s gift! The gift I wish I had opened was a book titled Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton. The book is a collection of Stanton’s portraits of people he meets on the streets of New York, each telling small stories that “… are outsized in their humor, candor, and humanity”. I had yet to hear about it, but according to Amazon it is the top rated book of the year in Photography. And there are over 11,000,000 (now +1) fans on facebook. Where have I been?!

I love story telling through photography. We each have our own story of regrets, achievements, failures and favorite things as we grow older. You see people in a different light when you know their hidden truths.

Stanton writes, “I always cite this photo as representing the most emotional interaction that I’ve ever had on the street. I came across this 100 year old woman just south of Central Park. She was walking in a rainstorm with a very bright umbrella. After I took her photo, I got under the umbrella with her, and asked her for one piece of advice. She said: “I’ll tell you what my husband told me when he was dying. I asked him: ‘Mo, how am I supposed to live without you?’ And he told me: ‘Take the love you have for me and spread it around.'”

 This book would make a great gift for the photographer in your family, or you can always follow along for free on Stanton’s Humans of New York blog.

If a stranger asked you to tell your story, what would you say?

Indoor Snow Photo Tutorial

Looking for a fun and creative winter photo idea? You’ve come to the right place! We live in Georgia and never know if we will see snow. So I decided to bring the snow indoors and capture the reaction of my three-year-old. We had a BLAST! How fun would this be for a holiday card photo?!? Why try to get your child to sit still for the camera when you could capture them being sincerely joyful instead?!:)

What you need:

  • A cute child who has no idea what he or she is in for:)
  • A dark backdrop. I used black felt. You could also use a dark blanket, fabric, or seamless paper.
  • Clamps to hold up your felt/fabric/blanket. I clamped my felt to my dining room chairs.
  • Fake snow flakes. I got mine at Target for a couple bucks.
  • Optional – a snow blanket for the floor. You could also use regular cotton batting or skip this entirely.
  • Readiness to laugh until your cheeks hurt.
  • A vacuum;)

What to do:

Clip up your dark backdrop, ideally across from a window. Place your kid in front of the backdrop, so they are facing the window. Take turns throwing fake snow at each other while you snap away. Giggle until you cannot giggle anymore.

If you want to get technical, my settings for these images were f/2, SS 1/320, and ISO 400. Next time I would bump my shutter speed even higher and raise my ISO to compensate.

Make sure you capture the details as well!

This was seriously the most fun I have ever had taking pictures. My daughter and I then went outside afterwards and shook all the “snow” off ourselves, which resulted in a lot more laughs and maybe a few strange glances from neighbors. I hope you give this a try if you’re looking for a fun photo opportunity! Please let me know if you have any questions!!

This article was written by Tiffany.

The Season of Giving


I recall in my last post writing that Thanksgiving and Christmas are one magical, beautiful holiday season rolled in to one. Although I don’t disagree with that statement- I love this time of year- this year has been one of the hardest ones for me. You see, I have been spending most of it alone.

In the beginning of November, my husband was handed this wonderful work opportunity that just couldn’t be passed up. He was chosen as one of the select few (in a very large company) to support a program out in New York City for two months. New York City during Christmas time! Isn’t that just dreamy? And so off he went. We knew it would be a big sacrifice for both of us, but the pros seemed to outweigh the cons. 

While these 2 months apart have certainly been hard, it is manageable. You kind of get in a routine and just figure it out- no sweat! But it can be lonely. It can be exhausting having a two year old and only having a break once she is sound asleep in bed. And at the end of the night, I have a strong appreciation for those mothers that have to do it alone all the time. They are super moms!

This time of year has been so fun at our house in many aspects- our daughter loves our Christmas tree and all the twinkly lights. We love reading Christmas stories and singing “Jingle Bells.” We’ve even tried our hand making chocolates and goodies to deliver to our neighbors. But it is also kind of hilarious all the stuff that has happened since my husband has been gone- the stomach flu, fevers, runny noses, and most recently, I fell down the stairs in my garage and hurt my foot really badly. Now I am wearing a boot for 10 days! Just this morning, my dog starting limping around the house, and I thought, “Seriously, what next?!” I’m in serious count down mode until Friday, when my husband gets to come home for Christmas. 

And just when I was in the depths of a little pity party for myself, someone left a beautiful pine wreath on my doorstep. I don’t know who left it, but whoever it was, they had a serious intuition that I needed a little cheering up. I brought it inside, and now my house smells just like Christmastime. I love it! To me, this was a perfect reminder of what Christmas is all about. It is about giving, about sharing goodness and love. This put everything into perspective for me- this attitude of giving and serving others is the reason why I love Christmas the most. And sure, this 2 month business trip has been difficult, but my husband gets to come home for Christmas. And you better believe we are going to pack in all the fun festivities while he is here. I have such a good, simple life. 

How do you give this holiday season? What are you doing to brighten someone’s day?

This article was written by Jamie.

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