Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Book Cradle!

I love my new book cradle purchased from Baer Necessities on Etsy. My favorite thing about the cradle, besides the fact that it is handmade with solid pine and very sturdy, is that it is open on one end. I make lots of 12X12 inch books or larger and now I can use my cradle to punch the signatures. Here it is in use:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Create what you seek..."

When you visit's "About Daryn" page you will be greeted with this:

"Welcome to! I hope you'll visit each day to experience stories that make your heart go, "ZING!"

Many people ask me how I have such a positive outlook after more than 20-years in the news business. Simply, I believe in the adage, "Create what you seek." I was seeking inspiration, so I decided to create a home where those stories could live.

This isn't a "happy news," site. It is more focused than that. I would call it "hopeful" news. My mission and the motto of the website is to "Show the World What Is Possible!" one story at a time."

I love stories and these video stories are inspiring! Go HERE to watch a story about a fun artist that gave away smiles because that's what he was seeking! I love his characters, his paintings, and the smiles he creates!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Black and White Portrait Photography

When my first child was born almost 10 years ago a friend gave me the advice to be sure to take pictures with a roll of black and white film before the baby grew up. I was reminded of that advice when I ran across a book at the library called Mom's Little Book of Photo Tips, by Lisa Bearnson. The book was published in 1999, when my husband and I still used film. The book suggests that black and white film evens out skin tone and gives a "timeless" aspect to your photos. Also, for best results be sure to use natural light.

This is a photo that I took with a roll of black and white film and a simple point and shoot camera.

This photo was taken with a roll of black and white film and my father-in-law's old SLR camera - which I used here for the very first time. I was very happy with the results. These are some of my very favorite photos that I have of when my daughter was small!

Finally, if you're like me and have switched to all digital photography, why not try converting some of your photos in your photo software and experiment with which photos look the best in black and white! Here's one that was taken with my digital point and shoot just last week when we were at the beach with Grandma and PaPa, and converted using iphoto when we got home.

Another fun tip for us amateur photographers who record our family's "life stories" is to take photographs without faces showing. I love the natural look of these photos!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Virtue Bracelets

Hubby and I try hard to teach the virtues to our children by acknowledging when they either display the characteristics of a particular virtue or we see the opportunity to practice a virtue. Patience is one that I must always remind myself to practice. Right? One night, as I was being called in to the girl's bedroom room for the hundredth time because they were arguing when they were supposed to be going to sleep, I was so very tempted to behave in a way that I would not want my children to behave. Luckily, this time I reminded myself that I have all the patience that is necessary to respond to these children who are still learning an appropriate way to deal with conflict. I thought to myself, if I can use this time to model the behavior I want them to display (patience, discussion, peace, compromise, understanding, etc.) then perhaps they will be just that much closer to modeling the behavior themselves next time. What if I wore a sweet reminder, a virtue bracelet with a symbol that reminds me of patience, to support me in this journey of practicing this virtue so that I don't "forget" and practice "impatience"? Well out comes my waxed linen cord that I use for my bookbinding and jewelry making, Tibetan silver charms are obtained that are symbols of different virtues I want to practice myself, or virtues that I admire in others, and these adjustable bracelets were born!

To be honest, I still haven't made one for the virtue of patience because I haven't found a symbol that I could put on a cord. The symbols for patience seem to be donkey, ox, fir tree - to name three - and I just haven't found a source for those. I will keep researching! I do have the symbols and virtue bracelets for Faith, Hope, Love, Perseverance, Loyalty, Peace, and Courage in my Etsy Shop right now! More to come as I recognize these virtues in others and the need for a reminder to practice them in my own life. Am I especially feeling the need to have courage or faith today? I will don that bracelet as a reminder and a comfort that I have access to that virtue by grace. And for that I am happy and grateful!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I'm having a Yart Sale and Father's Day is coming!

In my Etsy Shop I currently am offering Free Shipping on all in stock albums and journals, as well as 20% off select items (see Yart Sale Section in my shop for discounted prices).

Father's Day is approaching and I have a great panoramic album for those dads who take panoramic photos - or would just like to put two 4"X6" photos on one page - side by side - how cool is that?

Or how about a birch tree journal for all of his thoughts, ideas, or notes?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

2008 A Year In Review Continued...

Continuing Creativity Prompt's December 31st post called "Journaling Prompt #32 - A Year In Review" I have answered question #3: "What is your most remarkable event of 2008?" My answer: our oldest daughter's First Communion in May 2008. Here she (on the right) with her friend on the big day. What makes this most remarkable for us is seeing how important this event was to her - and still is every time she has received the Eucharist since then. Her joy and her gentleness amaze us daily!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I just love learning about new blogs, especially when they feature one of my books or albums! Thank you to The Photographers of Etsy Street Team who have featured my Panoramic Album in today's blog post. Their blog is one to see!

Here is an custom 10"X10" album that was just sent off to Virginia:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Year In Review - question 1

From Creativity Prompt: On December 31st this was the post called Journaling Prompt #32 - A Year In Review. I chose a photograph (or two or three) for each question that Avital posed about 2008. For me, each question deserves a page or two in my family photo journal. It was a motivating way for me to get those pictures on the pages and to write a few words about them. The first question is:

If you’d sum up the year 2008 in one sentence - what sentence would it be?

My answer: It is well.

That was simply the first sentence that came to mind about our 2008 and it fits. All is very well as a matter of fact!

This is my very simple layout using a picture of 6 year old Mackenzie that illustrates the sentence perfectly. I framed the photo with scraps of bookcloth from previous bookbinding projects and briefly wrote with a Micron pen.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I've been anxiously awaiting my free order of 40 prints from (earned from!) so that I can begin recording my 2008 memories in photo as a response to this post from Creativity Prompts. The prints arrived yesterday, so I will begin creating quick and simple pages in my Life Stories Books family photo journal, photographing them, and sharing them with you here. In the meantime, I thought I would share with you a few of the books I've been creating the past couple weeks.

This one is a new Panoramic Album (5"X13") that can hold one panoramic photograph or two 4"X6" photos per page. I'm very excited about this new product that I just listed in my shop:

Here are two books that were given as gifts:

Another book for my shop, this one a journal with the most deliciously textured pages for writing:

Friday, November 28, 2008

Etsy Free Shipping Sale today!

I just posted this announcement on my Etsy shop!

"Order Friday, November 28th through Monday, December 1st, and get FREE Priority Mail Shipping (Sorry, US only) - I will refund your shipping costs via Pay Pal and your purchase will still be shipped next business day! Custom orders will take up to two weeks - but order your custom book today and you will still receive free Priority Mail shipping! Let's celebrate our thoughts and remembrances!"

Drawing from my art journal - Dec. 2007

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just some Thanksgiving related photos for our family that cannot be with us today!
Our festive fireplace mantle that welcomes us when we come home:

Sierra creating the marshmallow and chocolate pilgrim hats for our feast at home (click here to see the original post from Tip Junkie where I got this idea):

The finished pilgrim hats:

And here is Daddy with the twins at their school Thanksgiving feast:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New books on Etsy...

Still working on my digital camera skills, but it was a beautiful sunny day outside for taking pictures!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving goodness

After listening to Danny Gregory's "An Illustrated Life" Podcast with Roz Stendahl about keeping an illustrated journal I truly had to draw something OR ELSE! So while the kids watched "The Sound of Music" on our computer, and the blueberry pie was cooling on the table, I sketched. Here is my quirky drawing of the blueberry pie I make for Thanksgiving every year because hubby loves it. The pie is SO NOT from scratch - but hubby likes it anyway! And my drawing, quirky as it is, has made me happy. I drew it using my micron 02 black pen and my handmade paper journal given to me by Uncle Marc last year. Colored in with Derwent pencils.

Here is Sierra's (age 8) colorful collage of a turkey. LOVE IT!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I've seen the light!

Light is a gift. I've shared this with many preschool children and with my own children. I realized that I have drawn, in my sketchbook, a few items that are a source of light. Other sources of light I have not drawn.

My son's favorite source of light:

The source of light in hubby's and my bedroom:

Our lightbulbs:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pages from my art journal

More fun with Mosaic Maker. My kids are one of my very favorite subjects to draw. Here are some drawings I've done of the girls:

And here are some drawings I've done of Cam:

Most of the drawings have been done on my favorite 90lb. Fabriano Artistico hot press natural white watercolor paper that I fill all my art journals and photo albums with. Cam's funny face was done in pencil on the closest paper I could grab - white copy paper. What can I say? Sometimes inspiration won't wait!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Book Cloth Cover Choices!

I love these new fabric choices for my hard bound photo albums and journals! I'm gradually getting the listings up in my Etsy shop - one listing per size. You just choose your fabric and text paper - I'll do the rest! I'm also binding several journals in these book cloths to add to the shop soon.

This image was created with Mosaic Maker. Try it out for yourself - it's way fun!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Bookcloth

Yesterday I finished preparing my new bookcloth for some journals. This cloth has been bonded to thin Mulberry paper, sprayed twice with Scotch Guard, and has been cut to size. I'm ready to start gluing them to the book boards this afternoon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Am Sierra

I am a nice girl who loves dogs.
I wonder if I could be a dog trainer.
I hear imaginary dog barks.
I see imaginary dog bones.
I want more dogs.
I am a nice girl who loves dogs.

I pretend that my toy dogs are real.
I feel that when dogs bark they are talking our language.
I touch dog's foot prints.
I worry about dogs getting hurt.
I cry when dogs get hurt or die.

I understand other animals are cool too.
I say, "Dogs rule!"
I dream of dogs talking.
I try to help dogs all I can.
I hope that dogs will live a very long time.
I am a nice girl who loves dogs.

by Sierra

I love this poem that Sierra wrote at school the other day and just had to record it in our family photo journal - with her permission. It gives us a glimpse into how she sees herself right now and it sums up what she thinks, talks, writes, and plays the most about - dogs! I chose a recent photo to go with it that includes her favorite dog, our rat terrier named Oreo, and backed the photo in a blue mat because it matches our red couch and blue is Sierra's favorite color. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

Impromptu photo session

The kids all got haircuts this weekend and the girls posed for the camera before school this morning. They really hammed it up. We are into "themed poses" at the moment and fast photo shoots. Someone just calls out a theme and everyone quickly strikes a pose! Here are just a few that I plan to print and add to my Life Stories Photo Journal:

"Silly faces!"

"Looking up!"


"Super Models!"


Just have some fun today and ham it up for the camera!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

It's a great day!

It's a great day! It's a beautiful day!
The kind of day that makes you want to say,
"I'm glad that I'm alive! I'm happy to be me!
And that's the way to be!

Ok, I know that is a Barney (the purple dinosaur) song, and my kids have long outgrown him, but I still spontaneously break out into this song when I wake them up for school in the morning while bouncing on their beds! I can't help it. Have to sing it. I hope it's a great day for you too!

I'm still loving the Autumn trees outside, so in addition to Mackenzie's jumping shadow picture I took last weekend, I will share with you last year's leaf drawing from my sketch book.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Books we read!

Sierra loves to read, but just who is reading to who here?

Speaking of reading, have you checked out You can trade those books you are finished reading for books that you want to read and only pay for postage. This is a site that I visit daily and trade every 2 or 3 weeks.

On the handmade book front, I have folded enough signatures for 11 journals and am almost finished cutting the bookboards for them. Next, I'll make bookcloth for them. That's one of my favorite steps in the bookmaking process!

Monday, November 03, 2008

My most exceptional teachers...

Inspiration Prompt #24 from Avital at asks:

"Have you had an unequalled teacher in your life?" and "What lessons have you learned from your exceptional teacher?"

My response, included with photos from this weekend playing in the front yard, is this:
"My kids are my best teachers. They have taught me to just be completely happy with what "is". To slow down the frequent thinking about what I need to do "next". Enjoy life as it "is"!

Materials used are my Life Stories Photo Journal, printed digital photos, my own painted paste papers from a previous book project, 1 circular tag, 3 eyelets, and a Pitt Pen.