There’s something about September. We had two cooler days over the weekend giving us our first taste of autumn and all of a sudden I’m in the mood. I want to bundle up with sweatshirts, sip warm coffee, and maybe plan a camping trip or two. We made our go-to brussels sprout recipe last night. I’m anxious to try growing these and am looking for new recipes to try with them. Any suggestions?

The bracelet below is a gold version of one I already have and it has become a daily staple on my wrist. I just love it.

What are you loving right now?


1/ Brussel Sprouts 2/ Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte 3/ ‘Home is Where the Wifi Automatically Connects’ print 4/ Gap Camp Zzz Sleep Set 5/ The Jones Market Momento Bracelet 6/ Happy Camper Slouchy Pullover

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Tips for photographing the interior of a dark home.

So far, I’ve photographed the “finished” progress of 4 or 5 rooms in our current house. Decorating is yet another creative outlet for me and I find joy in cleaning up a room to photograph it before it changes or gets messy again. But photographing the rooms in our current house has been much more difficult than in our previous house.

Our current house is surrounded by trees. It took about 5 minutes one November afternoon, walking through the neighborhood for me to fall in love with it. With the heat and sun we endure in Texas, it’s a huge bonus to have natural shade. But there is one drawback: our home can be quite dark inside as a result of all those trees. The complete opposite of our last house. So this post is about the the 3 tools I’ve learned to rely on to photograph the inside of my dark, dark home.

Tips for photographing the interior of a dark home.

1 – A CAMERA I use a Nikon D90 for photographing the inside of my house, along with lenses ranging from 12-50mm. You don’t need expensive lenses or a fancy DSLR. As long as you can put your camera in manual mode, you’ll be fine. I do like to use my wide angle lens occasionally because many rooms are small and need a wider angle to fit it all in the photo the way I want it.

The reason manual mode is so important is because you can slow the shutter speed down and let more light into the camera, creating a photo with brighter light than you’re even seeing in person. The photos above show the difference in shutter speed settings. The image on the left is similar to what I was seeing with my own eyes, but once I allowed more light into my camera (by increasing the amount of time my shutter was open) a brighter image was created. And my dark house looks super bright and cheerful.

Tips for photographing the interior of a dark home.

2 – A TRIPOD I have this one, which is way more than you need. We bought this one while storm chasing in (what seems like) another life. A simple $20 one will do just fine in this situation. But it is a must, because if you’re shutter is open longer than 1/125 of a second, you’ll likely end up with a blurry picture. These shots taken on Ephram’s room were taken with the shutter opening for 2 whole seconds. There’s no way I could have stood still enough to take this picture in my hands without creating some blur.

Tips for photographing the interior of a dark home.

3 – A REMOTE. This one isn’t nearly as important as a camera and tripod, but it definitely doesn’t hurt. A remote allows you to tell the camera to take the picture without actually having to touch the camera. This is super helpful in that you don’t risk wobbling the camera when you put the button down, which can result in a blurry photo. I have this one and have zero complaints.

In addition to these three tools, observing when the light is brightest in the room is of course a big component as well. And sometimes this means waiting a minute or two for a cloud to pass by.

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Today I’ve got weeks 33 and 34 to share with you, along with a tutorial for printing on cards.  Aaand a freebie at the end!

Project Life Tutorial: Printing Digital Elements on Project Life Cards | Donya Luana

Here’s Week 33.  Basically and ‘Ode to Summer’ because this was the week I started embracing the heat, we got really sweaty, but enjoyed the outdoors as much as possible.

There were so many colors, so once again I used several black and white photos to keep the page from tackling your eyes too much.

I had used Design U on the previous week and completely forgot about that as I was planning photos for this week.  As a result, a few of my 4×6 photos needed to be cut in half to fit the pockets, but that’s alright with me.

Project Life Tutorial: Printing Digital Elements on Project Life Cards | Donya Luana

These two cards are from One Little Bird.  I adjusted the coloring of the Summer card to match the sky better in that cloud photo using this tutorial.

Project Life Tutorial: Printing Digital Elements on Project Life Cards | Donya Luana

This Hello Sunshine card is from the Ali Edwards Summer Journaling cards.  I cut off a part of it and added a blue card from the Jade kit purely because I wanted more blue on this side of the spread.  I am always grabbing cards to use based on color, which is a huge reason I sort every kit by color.  The lime green card is from the Heidi Swapp Favorite Things kit.  I printed over it with a card design by One Little Bird.  More about that below.

Here’s week 34.  A busier looking spread than usual, but very colorful as a result.

Project Life Tutorial: Printing Digital Elements on Project Life Cards | Donya Luana

That tree photo was intentionally taken blurry one afternoon when I was photographing the boys playing.  Over it, I used this stamp on vellum to add a detail about how hot it was that week.

Project Life Tutorial: Printing Digital Elements on Project Life Cards | Donya Luana

For this blue journaling card I used a ‘Real Life’ stamp (from a past Studio Calico kit) repeatedly to create a pattern on the orange card, then attached it to another card.  An easy step to change up the color combos of a card.

Project Life Tutorial: Printing Digital Elements on Project Life Cards | Donya Luana

As you can see with the quote card, I had some fun this week experimenting with my printer for these spreads.  I added the header to the card by creating a box design in Photoshop and adding digital elements to them, then printing them straight onto the cards.  It was so much fun, I ended up doing it to three different cards in these two spreads.

Project Life Tutorial: Printing Digital Elements on Project Life Cards | Donya Luana

On the quote card I used Studio Calico digital stamps.   The song card, I found a music note via Google image search, and with the third one, the right hand box lined up perfectly to outline the envelope already on the card (from the Favorite Things kit).  Then I added the text in Photoshop using the Brandon Grotesque font.

Project Life Tutorial: Printing Digital Elements on Project Life Cards | Donya Luana

PRINTING | To print directly onto a card, I first use a template to print a 3″x4″ guide on a blank piece of paper, noting which direction I fed the paper into my printer so I can feed it the same way next time.  Then I place my card onto the paper using double sided tape.  In Photoshop I add and arrange the digital designs I’m using, like the box design or stamp brushes, to the 3″x4″ area.  Before printing, I hide the 3″x4″ guide by toggling the visibility of the layer in Photoshop so it isn’t accidentally printed onto the card.  Then I print!

Project Life Tutorial: Printing Digital Elements on Project Life Cards with Free Download | Donya Luana

FREE DOWNLOAD | Interested in printing directly on your cards or using the box design I created?  I’ve put together a free download here.  If you’re Photoshop savvy, you can drag and drop different designs right into the guide file, arrange them as you’d like, then print onto a card.  If you don’t have Photoshop, you can still print out the box design on paper, adhere to the top of a card, and use stamps in the boxes.

Follow my 2014 album progress here and see the cover page for this album here.

Supplies Used: Project Life Heidi Swapp Favorite ThingsStudio Calico monthly kit embellishments and stamps, Ali Edwards Summer Journaling Card set,  One Little Bird designs, Project Life Journaling PensDesign A Pocket Pages, Design U Pocket Page, Canon MX452 Printer, and Becky Higgins Corner Rounder.

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Around here we’re enjoying the fall migration of hummingbirds.  I love this time of year and while we aren’t getting to see quite as many as we did in our old backyard, we’re having some pretty cool experiences in our new one.  (more photos on Instagram)

Around here Ephram is enjoying school. And Alwyn is asking, “Ephum? Schoo?” every 10 minutes while he’s gone just to double check where his brother is.

Around here I’m enjoying putting together Ephram’s school lunches more than I expected to.

Around here we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a nice cold front to hit and allow us to do some yard work without sweating to death.

Around here, we’re anxiously awaiting Apple’s release of the iPhone 6 and OS X (the beta is driving me crazy!).

Around here my mom is visiting and I’m enjoying every single minute.

Around here we’re planning an unexpected trip back to MN before the end of the year.

Around here I’m figuring out how to create the Halloween costume Ephram requested and I’m so thankful for Pinterest!

Around here we’re shaking it off every day.

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Following last year’s tradition, here’s a few things I don’t want to forget about Ephram’s first day of preschool (year two).

I want to remember how much you talked about your old preschool after we moved.

I want to remember that when I showed you the shirt for your new school, you told me you liked the shirt from your old school, the one from when you were three, and then called it your ‘Three-school’.

I want to remember your ability to talk about your nerves this year because you new it would be different and a little scary at first.


I want to remember how you didn’t want to leave your Meet the Teacher and didn’t quite understand that you’d be able to play with all the toys all school year long.

I want to remember how I prepared myself for you to resist me leaving you the first couple of weeks after our experience with preschool a year ago.

I want to remember how frustrated you were that I didn’t have either of your favorite pairs of shorts clean for your first day.  (sorry!)


I want to remember that you surprised me by telling me that you wanted me to go home after I dropped you off and have a school bus come bring you home later.

I want to remember how you didn’t even bother saying goodbye to me in your classroom because there was so much to do, and you knew I’d be back.

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