A Frozen Winter Birthday Party and Free Printables

She’s 7! Here is my last minute “winter” party we put together for Boo’s birthday last weekend. It turned out better than I thought it would for the late start I got!

The background I made using burlap. The snowflakes I cut out of a large roll of drawing paper….as well as the popsicle stick snowflakes:

A Frozen Winter Birthday Party Free Printables with Snowflakes and Snowmen in Turquoise, Light Blue, Grey and White via Ashley Hackshaw / lilblueboo.com #frozen

 

She’s so big!

The Birthday Girl: A Frozen Winter Birthday Party with Snowflakes and Snowmen in Turquoise, Light Blue, Grey and White via Ashley Hackshaw / lilblueboo.com #frozen

 

Photo of the party table:

Desert Table: A Frozen Winter Birthday Party with Snowflakes and Snowmen in Turquoise, Light Blue, Grey and White via Ashley Hackshaw / lilblueboo.com #frozen

 

I made the t-shirts at the last minute…Mr. LBB is always a good sport wearing his: CONTINUE READING

Pinhole Photography: Taking a Photo (Exposure Times)

Ok sorry it took me a little while to get to the second post in this series….I took some time off for our vacation. Back to the wide-angle pinhole camera! (click here for the first overview and assembly post ) By now you should have your pinhole camera made and your dark room supplies ordered.  It’s time to take some photos! If you are just stumbling on this post you can find the series from start to finish at the below link:

Your pinhole camera is ready to go!

A DIY Coffee Can Pinhole Camera (Wide Angle) via lilblueboo.com #pinhole #diy #tutorial #photography

For this type of pinhole camera, instead of 35mm film, you’ll be using B&W photo paper (see the source list at the bottom of the post). I find this much easier and more fun than film. With 35mm film you have to enlarge the negatives….with photo paper you have an instant 5×7 sized negative. There’s one more step to reversing the negative in the darkroom, but you can also scan your negative into your computer and then “invert it” using Photoshop. This is also a great step if you need to tweak contrast or lighting slightly to see your image better.

 

Once you have your B&W photo paper you can load the camera! Make sure not to open your packet of paper until you are in the darkroom or you will expose it. It is LIGHT SENSITIVE.  (Note: I’m loading the paper in the light below just so you can see it….but this must be done in the darkroom!)

Take a piece of photo paper and place it into the camera as shown. The slightly glossy/smooth side is the side that is light sensitive. Make sure that side is centered facing the pinhole. (The glossy texture will wash away in the dark room trays.)

Make sure your shutter is closed before leaving the dark room!

Loading B&W photo paper into a pinhole camera via lilblueboo.com #pinhole #diy #tutorial #wideangle #photography

The paper works the best in bright sunlight. Take the camera outdoors and set up the camera facing your subject. Open the shutter to allow light to enter the can and expose the image.  Then make sure your shutter is CLOSED completely.  Don’t open the shutter again until you have the can in the dark room again.
How the pinhole camera works via lilblueboo.com #pinhole #pinholephotography #photography #darkroom

You’ll have to experiment with exposure times as you start out….but then you’ll get a feel for it. (which is why I recommend multiple cameras….number them so that you can keep track of how long you leave the shutter open for later  comparison)

 

 

Here’s a little chart I made that might help as a starting point for exposure times.  CONTINUE READING

Pinhole Photography: Making A Wide Angle Pinhole Camera

Pinhole Photography: Making A Wide Angle Pinhole Camera via lilblueboo.com #photography #darkroom #pinhole #pinholecamera

I’ve been teaching Boo about traditional photography.  We did the film thing….now for the photographic paper and dark room process. I’ve used oatmeal box cameras in the past but I think it’s a much faster process with a metal can….so I’ve substituted with coffee cans and paint cans now. It’s actually really easy to create a temporary mini darkroom in a spare bathroom or a small closet. See the bottom of the post for the complete supply source list.

Note: If you think it’s something you or your kid will really enjoy doing…..I recommend making multiple cameras….out of different size cans.  I used to lug over 10 cans around in a box because then I could take 10 photos at one location without having to worry about reloading film paper until I get home.  Then you can experiment with exposure times.  Number the cans so you can make notes and compare.

 

The cool thing about the cameras I’m making in this post is that because of the curved shape…..they are the same as a wide angle lens.

A self portrait by Boo with her American Girl dolls:

Pinhole Photos via lilblueboo.com #photography #darkroom #pinhole #pinholecamera

A photo of Boo’s toy horses:

pinhole photographers

Driftwood:

pinhole photo gallery

The B&W paper produces a negative.  I usually scan it into Photoshop (or any photo program) and invert the image to produce the print.  I will also be doing a post about making the actual prints from the negative. It’s just involves an additional processing step in the darkroom:

Using photographic paper as film

Developing her photos:

Developing and Printing Pinhole Photos via lilblueboo.com #photography #darkroom #pinhole #pinholecamera

 

To make your pinhole camera you will need a metal coffee can or paint can. It’s nice to make more than one camera because you can reload and develop film paper in batches in your dark room:

making a pinhole camera for kids

 

Other supplies you’ll need:

Black Spraypaint (flat/matte)
Wood Clothespin
A few small sewing needles
Super fine sandpaper or a fine nail file
A sheet of card stock
A small strip of cardboard (like from a flat mailer)
Electrical tape
A piece of black construction paper
Black Sharpie Marker

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A Vintage Camera Dress (and Photography Fun)

A new summer racerback dress for Boo…..using a illustration of a vintage TLR camera I did a while back.  I made a few more for the shop as well as a limited edition. Boo playing with Lisa’s twin reflex camera:

New! Vintage TLR Camera Applique Dress (limited edition) via lilblueboo.com

 

 

See how to convert a TLR camera to use with your digital camera:

Convert a Twins Reflex Camera using a cardboard tube via lilblueboo.com #photography

Check out these fun tutorials for playing with your camera:
10 Awesome Photography Tricks via lilblueboo.com

 

Twin Lens Reflex

 

Totally fascinated by this story of Vivian Maier:

See more at Vivian Maier Photography.

Anytime I see old photos in an antique store I can’t resist them. And I wonder about who was behind the camera……

 

I recently borrowed this old TLR Pho-Tak from Lisa and brought it out to show Boo how Vivian Maier would have taken her photos. The TLR camera is held at about waist height and you can see the image through the hood on the top.  It’s only in focus if you look at it from that distance:

 

I cut a piece of cardboard tube to attach to the end of my DSLR camera so Boo could capture what she was seeing through the TLR lens:

Fun with a vintage TLR Camera via lilblueboo.com

 

We could only take a few before we lost the sunlight:

“Mommy taking a picture of me taking a picture of her”

 

I love the grainy, flawed photos that result from looking through the old, scratched lens.

 

I’ve got to make the tube to the camera light proof…..and then we can play around with it more.

 

 

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How to Import VHS Tapes into iMovie

How to import vhs into iMovie via lilblueboo.com

I’ve been helping my friend Daren transfer some of his old acting demo clips from VHS to digital format. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to create a step-by-step tutorial for transferring VHS to iMovie because I know you’ve been asking for a while now.

First of all…..how cute is Daren?!  I loved watching all of these episodes….brought back so many memories: Wonder Years, Hunter, My Sister Sam, Growing Pains. You can click the image below and see the clips on IMDB:

I’m still trying to talk Daren into letting me run his fan club.

 

Ok, on to the step-by-step:

First of all, it’s pretty easy to import a VHS tape into iMovie for editing….but it involves a few steps because the VHS has to be converted into a digital format first.  I do this using my Sony Digital 8 Handycam. I record the VHS tape onto the Handycam and then import recorded footage into iMovie.  I’ve got two tips to getting this done:

Ok now to get started! To convert VHS to digital format using a handycam you’ll need the following which you can probably find from a neighbor or friend:

Digital 8 Handycam (DVC)
Audio Video TV Out AV Cable
Any VCR
Fire Wire Cable
Fire Wire Cable Adapters (if needed)

 

The first step is connecting the Handycam to a VCR.  This is done with a simple Audio Video TV Out AV Cable….you probably already have one sitting around somewhere. It has the 3 colored plugs on one side and an earphone like plug on the other side.

Here’s a closeup of where to plug each side of the AV cable into:

Next, insert a blank tape into the Handycam (DVC)….or one that you don’t mind recording over.  Turn the DVC on to VCR mode:

CONTINUE READING

How to Make Photo Pillows

how to make photo pillows via lilblueboo.com

 

These might look familiar. I’ve made them before….but I made a few more.  I love making photos into pillows, sachets, paperweights….they make perfect gifts….and I even use them as pattern weights. CONTINUE READING

A Beauty Salon Glam Birthday Party with Mini Doll Salon

Beauty Salon Party (with American Girl Salon too!) via lilblueboo.com #americangirl #party #diy

 

I can’t believe Boo is six years old!!!  First off, I want to put a disclaimer on this post to admit that this party is just a little over the top.  I’m not really a party planner…..I don’t entertain a lot…..so Boo’s yearly birthday party is something I really love putting energy into.  Boo knows that while the party is centered around her…..it’s also about bringing our friends together, entertaining them and sending them home with some fun handmade swag.  She also knows that I reserve the right at any time to decide not to throw a party, serve $5 pizza and stick a candle in it!  I love coming up with cute ideas and sharing them with you…..and there are many ways to make a wonderful fun party with only a few elements from this post!

Boo wanted an American Girl themed party (shocker) so we talked about doing something interactive with lots of activities that her friends of all ages would enjoy and came up with the Beauty Salon theme….complete with American Girl-sized doll salon.  I always borrow, recycle and improvise for parties and all of that will come in the “behind the scenes” post to follow this one. I will say one thing about this party…..the doll salon was a TOTAL hit. I was actually surprised…..but the girls had so much fun putting capes on their dolls and primping and fixing their hair.  It was totally adorable and definitely something I’ll put together more often for playdates!

So here we go! I had a vision of what I wanted in my head for the graphics and Stephanie Corfee brought it all to life with her graphic design!  It turned out so amazingly cute that I convinced her to offer it to everyone as a printable in the shop complete with extra graphics to make it fully “do-it-yourself” customizable.

 

Just a note: we called it a “DOLL” salon party…..and invited Boo’s friends to bring any favorite doll for the salon…..because not everyone has an American Girl (Boo’s only had one for 2 months).  A few friends brought extra American Girl dolls too for those girls that didn’t have one.

 

Party Decor: Beauty Salon Party (with American Girl Salon too!) via lilblueboo.com #americangirl #party #diy

 

Oh my….the day before the party the wind in the desert was over 30 miles an hour! I couldn’t set anything up until the morning of the party!

DIY Party Decor: Beauty Salon Party via lilblueboo.com #americangirl #party #diy

CONTINUE READING

#choosejoy

photo of you choosing joy #choose joy via lilblueboo.com

Want to share your Instagram photos with me? Use the hashtag #choosejoy and tag @lilblueboo. You might see them featured on Lil Blue Boo! Learn more here.

Remember to share the link to your photo on Twitter if your Instagram account is private….otherwise I can’t view it!

Want to add effects to your photos? Read the post on Instagram and Smartphone photo effects!

Click here to view all #choosejoy roundups……you might even see a few celebrities!

How To Organize And Backup Your Home Movies (with Checklist Download)

Tips for how to organize, burn, and backup home movies via lilblueboo.com

 

This might be one of the most overwhelming posts I’ve ever started because there’s too much information to share! I decided to break it up into a series of posts to make it easier to follow. I thought I’d start with a few overall tips and then add additional posts with templates for covers, details on importing VHS tapes and other types of media into iMovie, etc. Most of the technical parts of the series will be from a Apple/iPhoto/iMovie point of view since that’s what I prefer to use.

I recently started catching up on burning our home movies to DVD. Every so often I will take an old VHS tape and import the videos, edit and re-burn them to DVDs.  I’ve found that the trick is to do it gradually. It’s not something that can be done in a day!

Updating the Home Movie Library via lilblueboo.com

 

The most important thing I’ve learned (to stay SANE through home movie editing) is to walk away when the computer is doing its thing. There is a lot of down time where you will sit staring at the computer while it thinks and formats and spins its little insides over and over and over.

 

Tip #1: Start with the easiest movies first. via lilblueboo.com

I call this the “Home Movie Snowball”….just like the debt snowball theory. Chip away at the easiest ones first to get them out of the way and off your hard drive. Plus you’ll get more satisfaction at seeing your shelf fill up quickly with movies…..

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