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Posted on Dec 10, 2013 in DIY, Studio | 0 comments

DIY Character Canvas Painting


Canvases are a great way to spruce up the home.  We actually have quite a few photo canvases hanging around our house.   They are durable and the style is very clean.  Recently, I decided to add a few canvases in our bedroom.   I am obsessed with a few cute characters, namely my favorites are Miffy, Lotso, and Monokuro Boo.  I actually have quite a few stuffed animals of them.   So, I decided to create a set of canvas of them.   Aside from Lotso, the other 3 canvases were actually very simple line drawings.

I don’t like my free hand drawings, because I actually want the canvases to look good.  Ha.  So, I printed out pictures of each one to replicate.   Lotso was the hardest and I could not find anything of him online that I liked.  So, I ended up printing out a photo of my own Lotso instead.   See how I got this done and my failed attempts/lessons at the end!  🙂


 Items Needed: 

  • Charcoal Pencil  (or a regular pencil)
  • Translucent Marker Paper (or any paper)
  • Print outs of the subject
  • Canvas
  • Something pointy (I used the end of my thinnest paint brush)
  • Masking tape






PS-CharacterCanvas-005Step 1:  First, print out copies of what you would like to replicate on the canvas.   Since my canva size was quite small, I printed it out the exact same size as the canvas. (The bottom b&w photo that’s half cutout is the actual photo that I used for this project.)

PS-CharacterCanvas-008Step 2:  Make the Graphite transfer paper.   Fill up your transfer paper with charcoal to approximately the size of your canvas.  I smudged the charcoal with my finger to smooth out the charcoal.   Using the transfer paper was great because it was a little bit transparent and very easy to smudge.   (I *think* you can use pencil and paper to accomplish the same effect.  Just be sure to apply more pressure when filling with pencil since it’s not as easily transferable as charcoal.  Let me know if it works!)   The good thing about the this is you only have to make it once because this piece of paper is reusable!

PS-CharacterCanvas-009Step 3 (optional):  Test trial before making the permanent mark!  Ok, let’s give this a try on paper first!   Lay the charcoal-transfer paper face down on top of your notepad, so the charcoal is touching the surface you would like to draw on.  Lay your print out/picture on top

PS-CharacterCanvas-011Step 4:  Use masking tape to secure everything in place.  You do not want any of the papers to shift around when you are tracing.

PS-CharacterCanvas-012Step 5:  Get your pointy tool of choice ready!

PS-CharacterCanvas-013Step 6:  Trace along the lines.

PS-CharacterCanvas-014Step 7:  Let’s take a peak.

PS-CharacterCanvas-015Step 8:  Lotso’s nose looks good!  Trace over the rest of the lines.

PS-CharacterCanvas-016Step 9:  First trial, success!    Transfer paper has my stamp of approval!   Let’s get started!

PS-CharacterCanvas-018Step 10:  I basically replicated the same steps on my canvas.   So, I won’t bore you and show you the steps again…..   After this part, it was on to painting fun!



PS-CharacterCanvas-021Mission accomplished!    Family canvas set all done! 🙂



And of course, being the super star, he insisted on posing with his portrait here….


 ~ ~ ~

Trial & Error (The failures):   Before actually using the charcoal technique, I tried a few different ways to copy the pictures to the canvas.  Below are a few of the attempts… 😉


PS-CharacterCanvas-004It might look silly that I try to exactly match my Miffy canvas to the print out.  Especially when it’s literally just two dots and an X.   But, it was my practice before the Lotso canvas which I still did not know how I will replicate at the time.    So, my first try was grid lines.  I thought it would be a GREAT idea.  Since the grid lines will let me know where to draw each part.  Great-Idea-Failed when I realized erasing pencil lines (even lightly touched lines) from white canvas is not easy.   Especially when most of your canvas will be left untouched in such case as Miffy’s canvas.  I solved this issue with extreme erasing until my arm hurts (Haven’t done that since 3rd grade!)  At the end,  a thick layer of white paint solved the problem.


PS-CharacterCanvas-003Next, I practiced drawing Monokuro Boo by cutting up holes into the actual print out.   That worked… but seriously, how am I supposed to replicate that with Lotso?   No idea.

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Posted on Oct 9, 2013 in DIY, Efficientizing, Home & Lifestyle, Studio | 0 comments

Built-In Measuring Ruler

Are you tired of looking for your tape measure or ruler?  I am!  And maybe I am just too lazy to turn my chair to grab it from the shelf.  I decided to semi-permanently put the measuring tool on my table with help of some permanent marker and washi tape.   Super easy and took like 5 minutes!


  • Washi Tape
  • Ruler
  • Permanent Marker
  • Table or Desk where you want to put the ruler on


  • Place Washi Tape where you would like to have the measuring tape.
  • Line it up with your ruler.  Mark the measurements you use most frequently.  (In my case, I always use inches.  So that’s what I used)
  • Ta da!  Enjoy the complete, easy, and convenient measuring tool!







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Posted on Aug 28, 2013 in DIY, Photography | 0 comments

The Photo Album Rush

I have set a goal for myself in the last few months to finish up all my unfinished Photo Albums.  My goal is to finish this before our baby arrives so that I can focus on documenting our memories of him/her.   I think our focus will shift a little bit once the baby arrives.  I have only done one yearbook for us, and that was 2009.  I was so hopeful that I will be diligent and create one each year.  What happened?  Well, you know…wedding albums, honeymoon albums, vacation photo albums and just chilling.  Yup, I have been busy and then very lazy.  Now, every free moment I get I am trying to organize and create our yearbooks.

My hubby loves the yearbooks.  Recently I came up with a brilliant idea, and I casually asked him what if I just do a summary photo album of our years together?  You know…like a “Best of” type thing.  He didn’t buy it.  He wanted one album for each year.  I think I’ve spoiled him with all our detailed albums.  Ha!  Well ok, I am up for the challenge…it will just take me a few hundred hours longer.

To make my life easier, I recently tried my hands on LumaPix Fotofusion. (Thanks to review from Photobook Girl’s site. Her site is a great resource for the most current photobook deals.)   A program that I will use to create all my albums from here on out.  It seems to have a little bit of a learning curve.  But, I think it will be worth it once I get the hang of it.   It will literally save me hundreds of hours.   And I won’t have to relearn to use every single service with their unique album creation programs out there.  I will do a review once I get the hang of using the program myself.  For now, I need to shuffle through the clutter of my millions of photos from the last 5+ years!

Here’s a peak of some of the albums I have created in the past.   Wish me luck as I dive into our millions of photos!!




This is actually my latest creation…but also covers our oldest photos from when we first began dating.  I made this for my hubby as one of the presents for this birthday. 🙂   I used MyPublisher for this and took advantage of the coupon code from Photobook Girl.  And it was less than $50 (includes tax and shipping) for a 100 page photo album!!  Great deal!




This was my first “yearbook” from 2009.   This one was ordered from Blurb.  The size is a small 8×8.   I’m doing major catching up now.  As you can see, my albums aren’t too much about style at this point as a “fit-every-meaningful-photo-as-I-can”.  I do have a pages sprinkled here and there with full page size photos.   The cover is actually a photo taken right after our engagement.  <3




Albums I “usually* do not slack on are vacation albums.  This ons is from Blurb. The only reason is because right after our vacations, I’m always so eager to go through, sort, and edit the photos before sharing with friends and family.  But the time I have finish that task, putting together the albums isn’t that hard.  It’s usually the sorting and editing that takes the most time!





Another vacation album.  This is my first soft cover album (this one is from Blurb).  I was actually pleasantly surprised by the outcome.  I probably will do more softcovers it the future for casual vacation albums like this one because the glossy photo cover is really pretty!








Last but not least is my favorite album of all times, our wedding album.  This one I ordered from Photobook America.    It took me over a year to put this one together.  It has over a 1000 photos from our wedding in there because there are photos that I just don’t want to leave out.  After sorting through the professional photos and friends photos, I picked a handful of favorites for the main part of the album.   And the end, I have pages to put in smaller size photos that I did not want to leave out in a yearbook style and also “Behind the Scenes” section.  Love it so much. I sometimes just take it out to look at it myself and relive our wedding day. 🙂


These are just a few of my photo albums that I’ve put out.   As you can see, I order quite a few of my albums from Blurb.  That’s mainly because I was so familiar with using their album creation program.  Now that I’m going to start using Fotofusion, I am going to have more flexibility to trying out other photo album companies!  Very exciting indeed!!

Hope to finish  2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, and start on 2013 soon… Where can I buy more time??

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Posted on Aug 23, 2013 in DIY, Photography, Studio | 0 comments

DIY Home Photo Studio

Ever since I took photography class back in high school, I’ve always loved studio photography.   There’s so much you can control…the lighting, the background, and the whole environment.  Personally, I never thought I will be able to have my own photo studio since I do not have access to such equipment and space.  Recently, I had second thoughts about this and wanted to try and see if I can recreate one at home.  Turns out it was quite easy!  Now mind you, it is not anything fancy.   But, I can still call it my own little photo studio.


  • A room with natural light
  • A camera
  • Optional:Tripod for camera
  • Hooks with removable tape
  • Binder clips (or any clips with hooks, I got mine from Ikea)
  • Fabric (About 2-3 feet….longer if you are taller than 5’3″.  Two feet should be sufficient for kids or babies.)
  • Iron (to iron out those wrinkly spots)
  • Optional: Umbrella lights
  • Optional:Masking tape


Here are the hooks and removable tapes that I used.


You can find similar type at your local Target, Walgreens, etc.


Step 1: Find a wall where you can put up your fabric/canvas.   Next to a window where natural light can come in would be perfect.  Also,  keep in mind that there should be an open space in front of you to move around and take photos.


Step 2: Measure how high you want the fabric.  Make use there is enough fabric left on the ground for you to step on when taking photos.  As you can see I added one set of hooks on top and one in the middle.  The middle set is for photos where you can sit down or for photos of little ones.  That will allow you to maximize the use of your fabric.  



Note: If your fabric is too short, feel free to add a solid color on the bottom



Step 3: Place one hook up, clip your fabric, and hang it.    Pull the fabric so it is tight and not showing any wrinkles.   Place the other hook up.




Step 4: If the fabric is wrinkly, iron it first.   If it’s still hanging loose, cheat and use masking tape to pull it tight and tape the fabric on the wall.   What you can crop out from the final photo won’t hurt you.  Cropping tool is one of my favorite tools! 😉



All Set!


Here are some of the finished products from my studio!  And me in action. 🙂



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