Baby Blue Jays

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Have you ever had one of those magical times in nature where you just happen to witness something spectacular? This was one of those times.

I was sitting on my back deck, enjoying a cup of coffee and watching my chickens play (a favorite pastime of mine). I had filled the bird feeders and given the chickens a little treat and then just sat back and relaxed. I was enjoying the cacophony of sounds from various feathered friends, but the blue jays were definitely the loudest. And then they came. Young jays flew onto my swing, the bird feeder, the shed and into and out of the nearby trees. I’m not sure how many I saw that day, but from the photos, it looked like at least two. They posed for photo after photo (this is about 1/4 of the ones I took) in between calling to friends or mom. Then, they would fly off and another would appear. They didn’t seem at all threatened by the chickens or the crazy lady on the porch. For about 20 minutes they posed and gathered sunflower seeds, while I photographed and studied them. It was incredible.

I, of course, used Mosaic Moments Grid Paper on this page. I find it is the perfect way to scrapbook when you have so many photos you want to use. The different size squares and rectangles allowed me to emphasize the important portions of each photo.

I also used layering dies to make the photo mats on this one. And, I even made a video to show you how I did it!

Fir Trees

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These photos were taken on our trip to the UP in June. This was the day we decided the rain and cold wasn’t going to ruin our vacation and we bundled up and hiked through the wooded beach. It was so beautiful.

I used the new Fir Tree die from Mosaic Moments to embellish the page. I love this one because you can use it with or without the grid square.

I am imagining a border of these trees all decorated for the holidays, but I can’t do that until after Christmas, when I have photos to use!

Until then, I made a video to show you how easy it is to cut and put together this little tree. Click here to watch it!

Mosaic Windows

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As you probably know, my studio is in the corner of my living room beneath huge picture windows. When I sit at my desk, I look out over several vacant lots and woods owned by my husband’s parents. “The park,” as we call it, is filled with my mother-in-law’s flowers and a huge garden. I have a bird feeder in front of the window and I love my view … even though I live on a small lake lot, I feel like I live in the country when I look out my window. I’m used to seeing a variety of songbirds, crows, turkey vultures, squirrels, chipmunks, and the occasional bald eagle, or neighbor’s cat or dog.

But this day, when I looked up, I was surprised to see two deer in the yard!

For a few seconds, those deer and I locked eyes. I was afraid to move, but I really wanted to capture the moment. Telepathically, I suppose, I sort of asked the deer if he would stay put. Figuring I was no threat, he stood in place while I snapped a few pictures with my phone and called my in-laws to tell them to look out the window (they weren’t home, which made getting pictures even more important).

The pictures on my phone were way too far away, but my camera was, of course, nowhere near my desk. Again, I silently “asked” the deer to wait for me and took off to my bedroom. I ran back to my studio, removing the lens cap and turning on the camera as I went, but expecting them to be gone when I got back.

Amazingly, the deer were still there, slowly exploring my mother-in-law’s flowers.

Getting over “deer fever,” I was able to get quite a few photos of the two. The female wanted to head back to the woods, but the male was insistent that she stay and he kept encouraging her to come back to the park to play — until something spooked them and they both ran back into the woods.

It may have only lasted a few minutes, but it was the first time I had the opportunity to really observe deer being deer — outside of captivity. It was an incredible moment and although some of my photos didn’t come out (I was shaking beyond my camera’s stability control), I did get some great shots through my dirty window!

I wanted it to be obvious that these photos were taken while I was inside. One of the dies from Mosaic Moments reminded me of a window and I knew it would be the perfect way to visually show that the photos were taken through the window.

I made a video to show you how I made this page. Click here to watch it

Have you had an opportunity to photograph animals in nature?

(NOTE: I get paid to make videos for Mosaic Moments).

Where are the animals?

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When I planned my trip to the Upper Peninsula, I went to see the animals. I had visions of hiking a trail for a mile or so, finding a big rock or log to sit on, sitting still for a few minutes, and then watching the birds and squirrels play. I thought, perhaps, I might even see an eagle, moose, elk, wolf or bear. (Well, I really didn’t expect to find one in the woods, but maybe along the side of the road or something …)

I spent a week and was along the shore and in and out of the woods. And I saw less than what I see in my own backyard. No songbirds. No deer. No rabbits. No squirrels. No raccoons. No foxes. No skunks. No coyotes. Not even any roadkill!

Honestly, I’m starting to think that whole bear and moose thing are myths! Probably something they tell us trolls (those who live below the bridge) to get us to travel up there and spend money.

I was extremely disappointed. And, since that was such a big part of our trip, I had to document it … so I scrapbooked the few animals I did see using the Mosaic Moments system.

Want to see how I did it? Click here to watch the video …

Mom’s Garden

momgarden_candy_spiegelMy mother has a beautiful garden, with her house in the middle of it!

 

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Really, she has dozens of gardens around her house, garage and sheds.

 

 

momgarden_candy_spiegel3Her garden has been featured on a local charity garden tour fund-raiser twice.

 

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Many of the gardens are separated with fencing, sheds, tall grass and other items. And many of them have themes … there is an outdoor room, a water garden, multiple fairy gardens and a miniature golf garden (built for the grandkids). My favorite garden is a hidden garden. Once you find it, you see it is filled with pink flamingos made from all sorts of materials.

momgarden_candy_spiegel2 During the summer, I took some evening pictures of her garden. Of course, I had forgotten to wipe my memory card clean, so I didn’t get very many pictures, but I did get a few …

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I’m sure these photos will find their way onto a scrapbook page or card at some point …

Waterfalls

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One of my reasons for taking a trip to the Upper Peninsula was to hunt waterfalls. There are hundreds there waiting to be photographed.

This is one of my favorites. It’s right on the side of the road, so no hiking is required. It is in a beautiful setting with walkways and benches to sit and enjoy it. And it is filled with foam and rocks and twists and turns as multiple tiny tributaries join in.

I used Mosaic Moments Grid Paper as my base for this spread. And, I used pictures of the signs as both the title and journaling block. Why re-invent the wheel!?

Mosaic Waterfall

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While I work on Mosaic Moments Grid Paper most of the time when scrapbooking, I rarely create solid mosaic pages. Normally, I like to leave a lot of my photos large and uncut. But, with these photos, I decided to cut every photo into 1-inch squares.

My photos of this particular waterfall were not all that great. The falls were hard to photograph because we were on top of them and they cut back under us. I took lots of photos in the woods on our trek to and from the falls, but nothing was eye catching. By cutting my photos up, I actually made each one look better (its magical how this happens) and created an overall visual that was much better than any single photo. And, I managed to fit parts of 11 photos onto a single layout!

Yes, this can take hours if you are cutting with a knife, but if you have the MM Die from Mosaic Moments, it takes just a few minutes. The MM die cuts a 4″x6″ photo into 1-inch squares with a single pass through the Big Shot or other cutting machine. And, it holds the pieces together so you are not left trying to put nearly impossible puzzle pieces back together!

There are times when you will want to use this die to create a giant mosaic and times when you do not.

GREAT USES

Enhance less than spectacular photos

Fit a lot of photos onto a page

Uses parts of photos if the whole photo isn’t desired

Perfect for flowers, landscapes, scenery, crowds, sunsets, beaches

 

NOT-SO-GREAT USES

Close-up photos of people or animals (if their face doesn’t fit in a 1″ square, they will look like aliens when cut)

Spectacular photos (the mosaic grid will detract from the beauty)

Photos with important details (the details will blend in)

Signs with lots of writing (more than a word or two is hard to read)

 

Give this technique a try — either by cutting by hand or using the MM Die — and let me know what you think. I’d love to see your pages!