Taking Photos Inside My Craft Space

Welcome to my craft space, once again.  These past few months I have received quite a few requests asking me to show the “tools” I use to take my project photos.  Many of you have asked about lights, light boxes, backdrops, cameras … the list goes on – but, to be honest, this cheapskate crafter doesn’t use much at all.

Today, I am going to share a few of my project photo-taking tips & tricks with you.  I am NOT a professional photographer by any means. Years ago, my mother was a journalism major who had me take 4-H photography classes, and from there I have just muddled through learning as a go through online classes, strategic failures, and experimentation.  Let me share with you what I have learned.


Get a Good Camera & Learn How to Use It

I am blessed to have been gifted with a wonderful Lumix camera, but I have taken just as many photos on my phone.  When choosing a camera, you can go as low as a 5-megapixel, but I suggest that you look into at least an 8-megapixel or 16-20-megapixel for close-ups.  The more megapixels you have, the less grainy the photo and the greater amount of detail that can be captured in a picture.

Now, no matter how many megapixels you get, you still need to learn how to use your camera. I have found quite a few websites, like Persnickety Prints, that offer great tutorials. 

Most phone cameras have settings that help increase lighting, reduce glare, and have filters.  Take advantage of the grid-lines to help with lining up those scrapbook layouts and avoid zooming in whenever possible. It’s temping to zoom-in, but photos always turn out better when you get closer.

If you have a tendency to shake – which happens to me after five cups of coffee – look into a camera/phone tri-pod with a remote shutter.  I use my remote shutter often for photos and videos. 

Backdrops & Negative Space

These two go hand-in-hand.  Your backdrops need to be neutral and match the theme of your project. Backdrops are also a great way to “brand” yourself.   Most of mine have a rustic, vintage, or retro theme.  I prefer to use wood planks behind most of my photos, but occasionally, to match the theme, I will go with a vintage or retro backdrop.  Quite a few of my backdrops are matte vinyl wooden photography backdrops cut down to match the size of specific projects, but I have been known to use pattern paper behind some of my smaller designs.  

When you are picking out your backdrop, you need to think about how much of it will show up in the negative space of your photograph.   You need negative space around your project to create emotion, a setting, and a way to point to the focal point in your photo.  You don’t want it to overpower your project – you want it to say “look at what I made”.  

You don’t always have to use a backdrop behind your subject. There have been times that I have gone outside and taken a photo in the flowers, or sat a project in a Christmas tree, or even placed it on a shelf in my craft space.  As long as what you place in the background matches your overall theme and showcases your creations. 

Staging the Photo

Speaking of that collection of stuffs in the background – this is called “staging”.   My array of staging material ranges between the products I used to items that just make me happy.   You do not want to go overboard with the staging (remember that negative space we talked about?

FIVE things  to remember when staging:

  1. Keep it balanced – heavily weighted objects are usually at the bottom of the photo
  2. Create repetition – color, shape, size, and item
  3. Form a visual triangle – make the eye flow through your photograph 
  4. Create height & depth – layer items atop each other, stagger height, place items behind 
  5. Stick with the theme – invoke mood, movement, or ambiance

Can you see how I used each of those techniques in these photos?  Some of those cards are laying on stamping blocks to create height and depth.  Most of the items in the photos are thematic embellishments from my stash that evoke a mood that correlates to the project. I often repeat colors, shapes, and textures all while maintaining a good amount of negative space. 

Use Natural Light

You are going to want to take advantage of natural light as often as you can.  It creates “real color” in your photos and prevents the overexposure that is caused by a flash.  Remember when I told you that I am a cheapskate who uses very little to take photos?  Check out my set-up. 

Seriously, is this how you pictured it? Cropping is an amazing tool. 😏 

As you can see, I am taking advantage of the natural light from my window and using a reflector (a poster board) to help reduce the amount of shadows on my subject.  All of this sits atop my desk chair so that I can rotate it to create the lighting I am trying to achieve. 

We are blessed to live in a location where is it sunny about 70% of the year, but what about those cloudy or snowy days?

That is where artificial light comes into play. I try to avoid using my flash as often as possible unless it is a well-lit space and I am trying to soften some dark shadows behind or beneath my subject. When there is no chance of that sun peeking out from behind the clouds, I reach for these beauties – Tripod LED Lights

To be honest, they were a bit of an investment, but they are worth it.  I can raise and lower them for photos and videos, adjust the amount of light, and there are filters (which I have no idea how to use, yet, but I will someday.) The only downfall is that they only work with a battery pack or USB port, but I have those all over my craft space, so they work great for me. 


Did you imagine that it could be so simple? As you can see, I don’t have a massive photo studio or an array of light boxes, reflectors, or filters.  I use what I have in my craft space to create a photo that shows off my creation.  If all else fails, there is always great editing software to change exposure, color, and correct the photos. 

I hope that today’s post has given you some tips & tricks for taking better photos of your projects.  You don’t have to go out and spend a ton of money to have great photos.  Work with what you have, with what you have got, and learn how to use that camera

Some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links. By clicking on those links, and making a purchase, your are helping to support my small business. This is at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support.

Out of This World Cards with Shimmer Brushes

Earlier this week, I showed you some simple tricks to help you with your Shimmer Brushes and promised you a tutorial showing a few techniques you could use on your projects.  Well, it took me a little longer than I hoped to finish the video, but it is complete and ready for you to enjoy. 

For those of you who would like to know more about how I created each of these cards, you can continue reading about my project after you view video. 

Please take a few minutes to subscribe to my channel and share this tutorial with your friends.

My original goal, was to show you how to use our Shimmer Brushes to create a single card, but there are just so many techniques to share, so I chose instead, to create three cards and share just a few of those techniques with you today.  

Each one of these cards was created using the Aurora Cardmaking Kit. If you are a member of my VIP group or you follow CTMH on Facebook, you were able to join a live event showing how to make the cards in this kit. Well, I decided that since I already have the kit, I would make a few more cards using those wonderful little globe die cuts and my Shimmer Brushes. 

Let’s start out by taking a look at the backgrounds I created on each of the cards.  All three have a splatter pattern in the background, but each one was created a little differently using a Shimmer Brush. 

On two of the cards I created a simple diagonal splatter pattern. One card has more of a condensed pattern while the other is a little larger and more random. 

To create the condensed pattern, I removed some of the ink from the Julep Shimmer brush, held it close to the cardstock, and forcefully tapped the brush causing more ink to fly off the brush. On the second card, I removed the excess ink, held the brush a little higher above the cardstock, then lightly tapped the Charcoal Shimmer brush. 

On the third card, I chose to add some paint swishes and create a much larger droplet on my splatter pattern.  I light brushed the Toffee Shimmer across the cardstock, then loaded the brush with ink and tapped it lightly in a diagonal direction across the cardstock. 

Each of these techniques creates a slightly different look to your background pattern.♥   Now let’s take a look at the globes I created and how I used the Shimmer Brushes to create those beautiful blended colors. 

The first globe was shaded using a mix of Mint and Lagoon Shimmer ink.  I shaded the entire globe in Mint, then allowed a large amount of Lagoon ink to soak and blend into the edges of the die cut. 

On the second globe, I used watercolor pencils that I blended with a Clear Shimmer brush.  After I shaded the die cut with the green and blue watercolor pencils,  I used the shimmer brush like a waterbrush to blend the colors. 


Wasn’t that fun?! Now you have a few new techniques you can use when you are creating your projects with Shimmer Brushes.  I hope today’s project inspired you to create something new and that you give a few of these techniques a try. 

Some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links. By clicking on those links, and making a purchase, your are helping to support my small business. This is at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support.


Here is a List of the Supplies Used on My Project

It’s A Let It Shimmer Technique Blog Hop

Welcome to another Technique Blog Hop where we will be showing you a variety of shimmery techniques as we highlight a few of our current Close to My Heart products!100609256_10157717189973096_3386834617750257664_n  If you have come here from Krista Hershberger’s Blog, you are on the right path! When you are finished taking a look at my shimmery Out of This World cards and  learning some Shimmer Brush techniques, you can click on the link at the end to move to the next blog. This blog hop is simple, fun, and full of ideas.  If you get lost along the way, you’ll find the complete list of participating consultants on Melissa’s Blog.

For this blog hop, I had a hard time deciding what type to video to create – a tips & tricks or a process video – so I decided to do both.  I had so much fun using my Shimmer Brushes to create these three Out of This World cards and I couldn’t wait to share them with you.  

Before we get into the tips & tricks portion of this post, I want to show you a few close-ups of those globe die cuts. These were cut using the Thin Cut from our Aurora Cardmaking kitAren’t those just stunning?? I just love the look of old globes. 

I used our Shimmer Brushes to create the splattered backgrounds and shade two of the globes.  If you would like to know how I made each one of these, you are in luck.  I will be posting a video tutorial on my YouTube Channel later in the week to go along with the video tutorial I have posted below.  

Today, I am going to give you a few Tips when it comes to using our Shimmer Brushes.  I have also included a short little five minute video for you to view. 

For those of you who may want to skip this tutorial and move on with the hop, you can click this link to move on to Melissa Robinson’s Blog.


Please take a few minute to subscribe to my channel & comment to let me know what you thought about this tutorial.

TIP #1: Store Shimmer Brushes Upright

This may seem obvious to some, but I realized recently that many people do not know that you should always store them upright.  When they are stored upside down, the ink can drip into the lid and create quite the mess when you open it. 

I like to store mine in our Workspace Wonder Tool Caddy, but I have also seen them stored in a Mason jar or coffee cup. 


TIP #2: Pull the Lid to Open – Do Not Twist

This is another little blunder I have seen commonly done with our Shimmer Brushes. Many people will “twist” the lid open, unsealing the ink within and creating quite the mess. (Just ask my 10 year old niece how fun that is.) 

Now, there are a few times that you might want to twist open that brush which leads us to my next tip. 


TIP #3: Twist to Release Pressure

I often travel to locations in the mountains where there is an increase in elevation and, when I take my Shimmer Brushes, the pressure increases in the base causing it to drip ink all over when I go to use it.  I have found that I can release that built-up pressure by carefully unscrewing the tip and pulling out the brush, then tightly screwing the tip back on. 

After I have replaced the brush tip, I will brush the excess ink off onto my All Purpose Mat or a scrap piece of paper before I begin to use it. 


There you have it.  Just a few tips & tricks for using those awesome Shimmer Brushes in your stash. Oh, by the way – our shimmer brushes are NOT labeled with the colors at the top. That is something I did using a label maker

I can’t wait to share with you how I made each one of those Out of This World cards. I will be posting the process video, later this week, showing you how I used a few of my Shimmer Brushes to create backgrounds, blend watercolors, and create a blended alcohol-ink-like look. Now ‘Hop” on over to Melissa Robinson’s Blog to see her work!  Be sure to visit all the Consultants at their blogs to get some great crafting tips and other fun ideas for using Shimmer on your projects.  

Some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links. By clicking on those links, and making a purchase, your are helping to support my small business. This is at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support.

Cute as a Bug Scrapbook Page | Video Collab

I am so excited to share with you another video collab from our Creative Design Team. This group of ladies has been such a blessing to me and it all started because sweet Jayma Malme had the idea to get all of us together to create some projects each month – JUST FOR YOU. This month, we are showing you some Creative Ways to use Tags and you are NOT going to be disappointed.

I decided to create a Sweet as a Bug layout with an”extended tag” background for these adorable photos of my nephew.  Isn’t he the sweetest??  He happens to be almost 21 right now, so I am sure he is going to roll his eyes when he sees this layout.   

For those of you who prefer to head right on over to the video collab, you can click on the video below and it will take you to the list of tutorials on YouTube.  For those of you wish to see a few more details about this layout, you can keep on reading. 

Please take a few minutes to subscribe & click the notification icon so you are notified when new videos are added.

This layout was created using a variety of scraps from the Stitched Together & Mixed-in Papers.  I chose to use our Tags & Tabs Thin Cuts to create the illusion of an elongated tag behind the photos. All I did was cut two of each tag from Stitched Together and Mix-Ins paper AND a PML Card from the Stitched Together pack. 

I love having PML (Picture My Life) cards on hand for projects.  They are designed for pocket scrapbooking, but I have found that they are great to use as photo mats, journalling boxes, and for little accents like that tag when you don’t have a paper to match. 

In fact, I used quite a few of those PML cards on this project. One as a journaling box, one as a sentiment accent, one for the tags, and one for that adorable large ladybug. Yep, I cut that little gem out by hand and I am glad I did.  It is the perfect accent for this page. 

I also added a few Ladybugs from the sticker sheet and some delightful wooden buttons onto the page.  At the time, I wasn’t quite sure if I would use “Cute as a Button” or “Cute as a Bug” for the title, so I decided to add both elements on this layout. 

To create movement, I added thread trails with White Twine to help those buttons to feel “grounded” and create the illusion of flying ladybugs.  When making a thread trail, simply draw loops onto your page with a pencil then trace the lines with a fine tip glue pen. (I like Art Glitter Glue & Tombow glue pens because they dry clear.) The twine is laid down onto the glue trails and topped with a few wooden buttons. Really simple to do and it makes a fun addition to any project. 

My last minute addition to the page was the title.  Like I said earlier, I was struggling with this and wanted something to fill that empty corner of the page.  

I started out trying to created something on my Cricut, then realized that I hadn’t use stamps for a title in a long while, so I dug out that big, bold Chronicle Type alphabet and went to work.  I used a stamping platform to avoid making any stamping mistakes, added a few tiny hearts, and label-maker label to complete the title.   


All in all this layout turned out super cute and I can’t wait to add it to my scrapbooks.  I hope that you enjoyed this video collab project and that you learned a few new ways to creatively use tags.  You can view the full list of Creative Design Team creations HERE on my blog or in the description of my video

For those of you who wish to recreate this layout, you can find a complete list of supplies I used below.  Please tag @misscarriescreations when you post your creation so that I can see what you made. 

Some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links. By clicking on those links, and making a purchase, your are helping to support my small business. This is at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support.


Here is a List of the Supplies Used on My Project

Another Reimagined Project: A Magical Beauty Bag

Over the past month, I have been playing with the Magical Unicorn key in the Everyday Moments collection to create two layouts – A Magical Birthday and A Magical Christmas.  Each one of these included a simple video tutorial for you to follow. Today, I have another project for you using that Magical Unicorn Key and HTV Iron-On Vinyl with another easy-to-follow tutorial showing you how to create a Magical Beauty Bag. 

My video tutorial will walk you through the design process in Cricut Design Space showing you how to create this project using the templates and attach features and show you how to apply HTV to your projects using an EasyPress Mini.  Before we go to the video, I want to tell you more about this project and let you know that a supply list can be found at the very bottom of this post. 


All of the images for this Magical Beauty Bag were taken from the Everyday Moments Cricut collection.  I took apart two of the image design (keys) and used the images to create the front of this bag. 

This make-up bag was a free give-away from Ulta, but I am sure you probably have one in your stash that needs decorating.  This design was cut from regular Heat Transfer Vinyl, Everyday Iron-On, and Glitter Heat Transfer Vinyl.  In my video I show you how to cut each one of these using your Cricut Machine. 

Here are a few Tips & Tricks for using Heat Transfer Vinyl 

  1. Mirror your design in Design Space before cutting. 
  2. Place the vinyl shiny-side down on a standard grip mat.
  3. Choose “Custom Materials” on the Air2 Dial & select the material.
  4. Make sure your blade doesn’t have any nicks and it sharp before cutting. 
  5. Use weeding tools to remove the excess vinyl from the backing sheet. 
  6. Refer to the Cricut Heat Guide for temperature and application. 

My video tutorial explains each one of these tips in a little more detail.  On this design I chose to add a little glitter HTV.  If you chose to use a glitter iron-on, you will need to make sure that the glitter pieces are your top layers.  You cannot layer other iron-on designs onto glitter easily, so it’s best to make sure that the glitter vinyl is always your final layer. 

After all the vinyl had been attached to the front of the bag, I decided to add a little more bling with a handmade tassel and flower charm.  The tassel contains a few bits of our Gold Embellishing thread to match the gold on the design and bag.  I just love that little bit of bling

This project was so simple to make and perfect for a summer project with friends or to make and give away as a gift.  


For those who enjoy my Cricut Tutorials, here is a video for you to view It walks you through all the steps to create this Magical Beauty Bag – from design to completion – with plenty of tips along the way. 

Please take a few minutes to subscribe to my channel & hit the thumbs up if you enjoyed this tutorial.

I hope that today’s project inspired you to take another look at the Everyday Moments Cricut collection and create a Magical Beauty Bag project of your own.  Remember, this Cricut collection is only available through the affiliate link below – it is not available in Access or through the Cricut website. 

Some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links. By clicking on those links, and making a purchase, your are helping to support my small business. This is at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support.

Here is a List of the Supplies Used on My Project