Christa Paustenbaugh's picture

Daily Dose of Friends

I love all the list ideas in the List It eBook, especially those that aren't your run of the mill lists.  When I saw the "List of People I See Everyday" list I knew exactly which photo I wanted to use to portray this list of people. 


We are a military family so unfortunately we hardly see our families more than twice a year, much less every day.  In this life your neighbors and friends become as close as family and we rely on one another as we would our families too.  I see these ladies every day since moving to Okinawa, Japan.  After just 4 months I consider them dear friends and look forward to seeiing them and talking to them every day!

Grace Tolman's picture

My most precious gift

Hi there. Grace here to share with you an image that best describes if not the most, one of the most precious gifts I have ever received.

Ever since I can remember I have been a huge fan of musical instruments. At first I wanted to learn voilin. No I'm not musically gifted, I am just purely elated to the idea of being able to play an instrument. Growing up in the Philippines, I didn't have much opportunity to learn any musical instrument so when I moved to the states in 8th Grade, I finally got my wish when my Aunt enrolled me in some piano lessons.

It was awesome and although I didn't stick with is as long as I should have (high school came in the way) I've always had a special spot for the Piano and the beautiful music we can create with it.

So fast forward to today and that desire for beautiful music still lives on. I had told my husband at the beginning of the year that I wante a piano for my birthday (which was in July). He said that if we can find a good deal that we will look into it. I know that a brand new one would be way over our budget so for six months I scoured the Craigslist site to find a used one in the area. There were deals alright but it was a matter of being the first one to see it. At times I was getting frustrated for not being able to find "the one". Fortunately after six months of religious searching I finally found one. I called the owner and by that afternoon we had hauled it to our home and found the perfect spot for it in our living room.

It was perfect timing as my birthday was just days away. This item and the gift of music brought to my home is priceless. And the best part of it was only $50!

Now that's a deal!

Have a great day,


To learn more about the List it! Everyday life ebook, check it out here.

Bobbi-Jo Grunewald's picture

List It! Everyday - My Bookshelf

"The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.  ~James Bryce"

I love to read. Yes, that is a simple statement, but it describes a vital part of who I am. Opening the pages of a new book, or a beloved , read-so-many-times-I-could-recite-it book always sends a shiver up my spine. New and grand adventures just waiting at my finger tips! There are few things better than that!

I decided to document a few of the most treasured or beloved books on my bookshelf, using a prompt from the amazing eBook "List It! Everyday". It's hard for me to believe that I hadn't, yet, documented my love of reading! The journaling prompts in the "List It" books have been fabulous for sparking ideas of what to record about myself and my family. Love it!


Some of the books that I included in my list were:

  • The Holy Scriptures
  • The Count of  Monte Cristo (Dumas)
  • The Hunger Games (Collins)
  • If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard (Dew)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia (Lewis)
  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
  • The Iliad (Homer)
  • The Harry Potter Series (Rowling)
  • The Hobbit and the LOTR Series (Tolkien)
  • The Princess Bride (Goldman)
  • The Diary of Anne Frank

I have a diverse taste in books - loving everything in every genre. My most beloved books, however, are the ones where I take something valuable away with me, even after placing it back on the shelf. After all, "A good book has no ending."  ~R.D. Cumming.

Happy Reading!

Photography Lesson Learned: Change your perspective

Hi, I'm Monica Bradford, happy to be guest posting on the Ella blog today.


This photo was inspired by 40 Top Tips for Better Photos by Rebecca Cooper. I love the idea of changing your perspective when taking a photo. My favorite is to get up above your subject. It’s a very flattering perspective when photographing adults, but I even love capturing my children this way. This is how they look to me now, while they are still little. I know that I’ll want to remember this perspective: seeing my youngest gazing up at me with that cheesy grin.



I took this photo on the first day of school in the fall. My son was prepared for the standard “on the front porch” pics, so once those were done I decided to take advantage of his nice clothes and ready smile. I pulled him to the side of the house and snapped a few more shots against the fence. Nothing about this photo says “school” so it’s perfect for using on a personality scrapbook page or even framing to hang on the wall. I actually used this photo, along with several others, to make photo coasters (here’s the link if you want it). I love having a good, generic shot like this in my back pocket to pull out when needed!


Learn more about Rebecca Cooper's photography books by clicking on the covers below.


Photography Lessons Learned: Just Ask

Hi, I'm Lisa Ottosson, a member of Ella's Take Twelve team. I'm here to share a photo that represents a lesson learned from Rebecca Cooper's Don´t say Cheese eBook. She encourages asking for assistants when needed, such as when she took these baby shots. She asked the parents to stand behind her and get the sweet baby to smile, and it worked.


Learn more about Rebecca Cooper's photography books by clicking on the covers below.


alizadeutsch's picture

Photography Lesson Learned: Taking Charge

Hi, I'm Aliza Deutsch, a member of Ella's Take Twelve team, here to share a few quick photography tips. What I am learning, and what Rebecca's eBooks helped me think about, is that to get better photos, it takes some:

awareness of one's surroundings


And you know what else? You have to be able to tell people what to do; to tell them where to stand to get better light and backgrounds.


That is something I am not used to, and it dies not come naturally to me. So here, I thought beforehand about the fact that I wanted outdoor photos, and that I wanted them against this brick background, and I (kindly) made everyone go outside.


And then I just took as many shots as I could. Many where they are smiling at the camera like good little boys, but I like this one best, because it is the most authentic (you can see that the graduation boy wanted to go back to his friends) and a little silly.


Next time you are photographing a family event, take charge and plan ahead to get great shots.


Learn more about Rebecca Cooper's photography books by clicking on the covers below.


Wendy Smedley's picture

Dear Photograph: In the Backyard


Dear Photograph,


The wooden fence still stands tall and is just as strong as it was 6 years ago when this family photo was taken. The trees and plants have grown taller as have my five sons. Our family has grown and changed immensely, mostly good, but some not so good.


Now I have to get used to fewer people at home, less time with my grown children, less time looking out the window and watching my children playing, less time with just my boys. And that will take time to grow used to.





Happy National Photography Month! Read about Ella's Dear Photograph challenge and join in by linking up your Dear Photograph post here.

Wendy Smedley's picture

Dear Photograph Challenge

In case you haven't heard, May is NATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY MONTH, and we're celebrating with photography ideas and fun all month long here in our blog, in our eZine, and even with the release of a new book from Rebecca Cooper, Real.Life.Photography.

And on that note, I have found the coolest photography site ever! And I just had to share it with you. It's called Dear Photograph.



The Concept
The idea behind Dear Photograph is simple: hold up a photo from the past in front of the place where it was originally shot, then take a picture of the picture, adding a dedication about what the photograph means to you. The results, however, are astounding. By turns nostalgic, charming, and poignant, Dear Photograph is a stunning visual compilation that evokes childhood memories, laments difficult losses, and above all, celebrates the universal nature of love.


If the concept looks familiar, it seems to have inspired a popular television ad for Chevrolet, as was pointed out in an article from AdWeek.


About the creator of Dear Photograph:
Taylor Jones, at just 22 years of age, was inspired to start his website Dear Photograph as he flipped through old family photos at his parents' kitchen table. When he came across an image of his brother sitting at that very same table, he lifted it up and snapped a picture of the picture. In a moment, the idea for was born. After taking more photographs, Jones posted them on a website and asked people to submit their own renditions -- but he had no idea how overwhelming of a response he would get. In just six short weeks, millions of people had visited, hundreds had submitted, and Jones had created an internet phenomenon that captured the world's attention.


Are you in?

To play along, post your own, Dear Photograph, on your blog or any hosting service (Flickr, etc.) then link it back to this post.


We are *hosting the challenge here on our blog until the end of May. And check back because we will be posting our own Dear Photographs throughout the rest of the month from members of the Ella Publishing staff and the Ella Friends team.


*All participants will be entered into a random drawing to win a copy of the book, Dear Photograph, and some other surprise goodies, too.


Oh, and you can listen to an interview with the author here.


The winner of a copy of the book is Kym Tsukamoto- thanks everyone!

Christa Paustenbaugh's picture

Shooting For Expression (Day #4)

Today is our fourth day of Spring Training and hopefully you are as excited as I am to get started! We're starting off with some ideas and tricks using your camera and photography skills. I've been trying to get my camera out more recently and really practice with it and my sometimes willing subjects too. I had a chance to preview Erin Cobb's video about shooting for expression and I was eager to try out some of the tips and tricks she gave.

One of the challenges for this video is to get genuine expressions from my children without using the phrase "Say Cheese!" Erin gave some great tips and I tried them out immediately with my own two. I love her tip on getting your kids to look into the camera to try to find the movement in the lens. It can produce both serious looks then big smiles after they find what they're looking for too!

Bingo!  That technique definitely worked with my oldest who is almost 10 and onto my camera tricks. Another technique that has proven invaluable is asking them to show me various faces, both serious and funny. They fully cooperated, especially when I asked for a face when their sister is bothering them!

My youngest daughter has no deficit for expression, so I took the series of photos I snapped of her and created a fun layout about all her expressive personality. She has entered the stage that a fake smile is considered a must by her, so I was happy to have all these great faces she makes on a daily basis for us without a camera.

That larger photo is so her!  Full of happiness and excitement that is about to burst out of her body. 

I know you will all love these tips to getting great photos of your kids and really all your family to put on those pages about them.  Enjoy the rest of Spring Training and I'm eager to learn so much more right along with you!


Interested in Spring Training? Learn more about this live event here. Yes, you can still register.

Already registered? Click here to visit the exclusive Craftnasium. (Must be logged in to your Ella user account for the link to work.)

Spring Training participants get the chance to win great prizes from 13 crafty companies, including today's spotlighted sponsor:

Ella's picture

Gift idea: Photo Tile Necklace

The Crafting Chicks

This is a blog repost from Kristen of the

So the Scrabble Tile Necklace was the perfect solution to last year’s birthday roundup. All the gifts that are given from my fingertips routinely have something to do with pictures. WHY? Because I’ve been a photographer for ten years now. That means that I have pictures of everyone and their dog (literally), and who doesn’t like a picture of….their DOG, or a candid from their wedding, snapshot of their kid, or a picture of their whole family, on a necklace. Que the Scrabble Tile Necklace….PHOTO style.

For a lovely tutorial on how to glue and protect your necklace (after learning how to personalize below), head over to the wonderful blog Make and Takes.




STEP 1: Open Photoshop (I use CS2), but this can be done on Photoshop Elements as well as the full version of Photoshop.

Go to FILE, then NEW then make a 4×6 canvas by putting 4 in the width box and 6 in the height box.

Make sure your setting is on inches instead of px. The 4×6 will allow you to make images for multiple necklaces.

STEP 2: On the 4×6 canvas make some squares with your shape tool that measure approx. .75″ x .75″. Use the rulers to eyeball it. If your rulers are not showing, go to VIEW and click on RULERS. This will allow you to see how big your shapes are. These squares will be the template for the pictures.

STEP 3: OPEN the photo you are going to use. LEFT CLICK and DRAG that photo over to the 4×6 canvas. At this point you can go to your LAYERS palette. For each of the squares you make you will find that each one is represented in it’s own layer (like a transparency).

STEP 4: Position your photo over the first square making sure your photo is directly over that particular square in the layers pallet. If it’s not directly over that square in the layers palette, LEFT CLICK on the photo layer and move it over the first square.

STEP 5: Then for the MAGIC. This is called a CLIPPING MASK. It’s lovely, wonderful and beautimous. With the photo layer selected (you will know this if the layer is photo layer is highlighted in the layers palette), you push CTRL ALT G (CTRL G on Photoshop Elements). This will magically place your picture into the template. You can now move it around and zoom and crop where you want the photo. It’s magic. At this point, add your frame you can find from any digi site if you search for them. Open this file then place the frame on the picture. For more photos, repeat steps 3-5 on the next square until you’ve filled up your 4×6 and are making a necklace for everyone you know. They will love you for it.

Add some dangles, charms, or leave as is. You will be loved for giving such a personal gift.

Syndicate content