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This weekend was pretty nice!!! Saturday I had my Digital Photography Field Trip Class at the Chicago Botanic Garden– I’ve got one word to describe it– AWESOME. The weather was perfect, my student was awesome, and our shots were awesome!!! We played with our shutter speed settings and photographed the waterfall to get the soft and dreamy smooth water effect.  Too cool.  Here are some of my shots from Saturday morning’s class:

Digital Photography Field Trip Class- Chicago Botanic Garden

Digital Photography Field Trip Class- Chicago Botanic Garden

Digital Photography Field Trip Class- Chicago Botanic Garden

Digital Photography Field Trip Class- Chicago Botanic GardenMore photos will be added to my flickr soon! To see photos from our previous Previous Digital Photography Field Trip Classes, please check out the following links:

July- Friendship Park

June- Spring Valley Nature Center

Photo Slideshow

September’s Digital Photography Field Trip Class will be on September 11th 10:00 am to noon at Cantigny Gardens in Wheeling. There will be a civil war reenactment this weekend as well which will provide interesting photo opportunities! They have a garden, classic colonial style buildings, and tanks (the fact that they have military tanks kinda throws me off, but it does make for some unique photo ops!)

For more information, please feel free to leave a comment, email me, or call Craft Fancy. To sign up, please call Craft Fancy and register!

Hello! For the past two weeks, I’ve been participating in a super fun digital scavenger hunt sponsored by Pink Dandy. We were challenged to take photos of things that portrayed the following words…Love, Crime, Heat, Organic, Nature, Broken, Colorful and Tall.  Here are my entries:

LoveThis is Aine and she belongs to my friend, Nan.  Dogs are the perfect example of unconditional LOVE.  (I *so* wanted to take her home with me! She’s the cutest puppy ever!)

crimeThis is my entry for CRIME. I know, it’s a little lame. I was hoping to spot a police cruiser, but surprisingly, I didn’t see any all weekend. So I took this shot, reminding people that at this particular intersection it’s a crime to turn on red when pedestrians are present. There, that’s my public service announcement for the day!

heatThis is my entry for HEAT. Say hello to my genuine 1970’s GE electric oven! I can’t cook anything in here to save my life. Everything either comes out too burnt, or too raw in the middle. And, sometime, as a bonus, they will turn out burnt AND raw in the middle!! This is why I don’t cook… (well, it’s the excuse I tell myself, anyway…)

organicmmm… ORGANIC yogurt from Trader Joe’s. A favorite of mine!

natureI came across this stunning example of NATURE this weekend when I went to the Chicago Botanic Garden!

brokenThis is my BROKEN first generation ipod. Yeah, you know, those big chunky bricks with spinning hard drives? Yeah, this one bit the dust a few years ago. After the second time it broke, I decided it was time to invest in something with a non-spinning flash drive (hello ipod nano!) Sure, the nan is slightly smaller–went from 20+ gigs to 4– that was quite an adjustment, but at least it hasn’t broken!

colorfulThis COLORFUL butterfly photo was taken last week at the Peggy Notabaert Nature Museum! Read about my adventure (and see more butterfly pics) here.

TallI absolutely love the prairie section at the Chicago Botanic Garden. I especially love how TALL the grasses and the sunflowers get!

Here are some other blog links that are also participating in the Digital Scavenger Hunt!!! Please stop by and check them out!!!

I have a small confession– I like working retail. To be fair, my part time job is at a scrapbooking store–Craft Fancy in Arlington Heights, IL. If you had asked me a decade or so ago when I worked at the department stores in the mall, I would have vehemently denied liking retail. It’s so much different now that I get to help people be creative and not clean up fitting rooms after them…

Did you know that I teach a digital photography class at Craft Fancy? No? Well, now you do! In fact, I’m teaching a Digital Photography Field Trip class this Saturday (August 28th). It’s going to be fabulous! It combines my Digital Photography 101 class with practical application. The auto settings as well as basic picture composition will be covered. This is perfect for those of us who learn better actually doing rather than just being talked to. This month, we’re going to the Chicago Botanic Garden. For details, please check out this link:

Digital Photography Field Trip Class- August 28th

Call the store to sign up! I hope to see you there!!!

Speaking of photography, this weekend was a good weekend for photo ops!!! Saturday I went, quite spontaneously, to New Glarus, WI. It’s only a two hour drive– not too bad at all! (And yes, I used my new GPS!!! I love it! )

America’s “Little Switzerland” New Glarus is located in the heart of Green County in Southern Wisconsin. Its rolling hills dotted with small towns, farms, and woodland pastures are much like the alpine farmlands of Glarus, Switzerland. When you arrive at the village entrance, you will quickly understand its popularity as a destination. New Glarus is America’s “Little Switzerland.”

It was a cute little town. Unfortunately, I got there a little late– most of the town was closed with the exception of bars and restaurants. I did manage to get a few cool shots though…


Sunday was a little more low-key. I went to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum to photograph the butterflies. Seriously, it was super cool. Way better than the butterfly garden I went to a few weeks ago. There were so many varieties of butterflies and moths–And TONS of them! Here’s an excerpt from their website:

Get up close to more than 75 species of exotic butterflies and stunning bird species from the Southern hemisphere in a 2,700 square-foot greenhouse filled with pools of water, flowers, tropical trees and 1,000 butterflies, including those never-before-seen in our region.

The release new butterflies daily at 2:00 p.m. How cool is that?
I also checked out the Sanctuary: Flight of the Majestic Monarch exhibit. Way cool. Did you know Monarch Butterflies will migrate through Chicago to Mexico coming up in September? Neither did I! The Majestic Monarch exhibit features facts, amazing murals from Hector Duarte and kids art from local schools.

Here are some shots from the Butterfly exhibit:

(I think some of these will be hitting my etsy shop soon…)

It was so worth the trip! It’s really a cool museum. I will definitely be visiting again in the wintertime when I need a little bit of warmth and greenery!!!!

Hi! Welcome to another Featured Handmade Artist! This week I’m featuring the lovely lovely photography from RaeoLight. Her images are stunning and she strives to show the beauty in ordinary, everyday objects and scenes. I’m really loving the Cafe Delight Print (featured below) and the Pretty in Pink Take 2 print! Here are a few examples of her gorgeous photography:


Hi Rachel!! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My Name is Rachel and I’m from Joplin, MO a town whose only claim to fame is being mentioned in the song Route 66.

How long have you been creating?

I’ve been playing and photographing seriously for about five years now.

What is the inspiration for making your pieces?

I like finding and capturing things most people pass by on a daily basis. It’s my goal to find beauty in everything and ensure that it is a pure as possible.

What would be your dream job?

I would love to sing in a Disney film, but besides that I would have a blast taking photos all day. I think that would bring me tons of joy.

Please describe your creative process a little bit for us.

Well when I shoot I kinda do so like a machine gun, while most photographers work patiently to get their shot I just keep clicking and am always pleasantly surprised about how the turn out. I’m a spur of the moment kind of girl and thus so are my photos.

What item would you be secretly heartbroken about if it sold?

Well none of them really. I would love to see all my stuff up in someones house so that it can become a home.

How do you promote your work?

Well I recently started a blog and have a facebook page Then I hang out in the forums…. a lot.

What are a few of your favorite books, movies, musicians, and websites that you’d like to share?

I love Jane Austen and have always wanted to go to Europe and see all of those romantic places. I’m very ecceltic in my music. I love Norah Jones and Pink. really mesh well huh? I guess you can also see that in my photos as I have all sorts of stuff to choose from.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

Hmmm that’s a tough one. I guess maybe to read other peoples thoughts. That why I could know how to help them if they were in trouble.

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

I would open a restaurant and use it as a desert/ art bar. I think it would be fab to have those things combined. Nothing ends the day right like looking at some great art while sipping some great coffee and eating creamy cakes

Thanks so much Rachel!!!! Please be sure to check out her gorgeous take on the world through her images in her etsy shop!

Know anyone you’d like me to feature (maybe you?) Send me an email (aprilbern at gmail dot com) or convo me via my etsy shop and let me know and I’ll get in touch and set something up! Thanks!

166/365, originally uploaded by rottnapples.

originally uploaded by rottnapples.

So, this may be the biggest crafty endeavor I take on yet–I am going to try and make a baby quilt for my pregnant friend. Hopefully, it will be finished just about the time her baby is due (in late December or early January…no pressure, right?)

I am so excited to start– never mind that I still don’t know how to operate my sewing machine and I have NO clue how to sew two pieces of fabric together much less make a quilt…That’s what my mom is for. One day next week I’m going to schlep the Beast (aka, my sewing machine) over to my moms house so she can do it for me… um.. i mean, so she can help me get started…

oh– I am still in the middle of the super secret gift. I feel I am making good progress on that one. I may not need to call for backup after all….

yay! so excited…

(don’t worry— I’ll provide updates with how this project is going!!)

wish me luck! (oh, and if you have any sewing/quilting tips for a complete beginner, please share!)

I totally forgot about the request I had received for one of my photos to be used in a book until a check came last week. (I was contacted about this well over a year ago!) I was happy I got a check, but at the same time I was a little disappointed that I didn’t receive the book that my photo was used in.

Then, it arrived:

Winnebago County: Connected

Here’s a little excerpt from the front sleeve:

Winnebago County:Connected explores the charms and advantages of living and doing business in northern Illinois. Industrious, forthright, and self-reliant, Winnebago County exemplifies the American small-town way of life while offering the convenience of city living….As Winnebago County’s towns and cities experience a social and economic renaissance, a new generation is discovering opportunities in logistics, food production, health care, and high tech manufacturing. Winnebago County: Connected describes hoe a grand old county is reinventing itself as the changing face of America’s Industrial heartland.

How cool is that? Here’s the original photo

And look! They even credited me!

This is the first time that one of my photos has been published in a book! (I’ve had my photographs used in a newspaper article that I wasn’t credited for…) I’m so excited! Does this make me a real Photographer now? 😉

Hello! I hope you had a lovely weekend. I wasn’t quite ready for Monday. Now that it’s Tuesday, however, bring it. Give me all you got, Tuesday. I’ve got my cup of coffee and I’m ready. (can you start after 11am, though? give me some time to drink my coffee? thanks…)

The weekend was good– Saturday was FANTASTIC! I taught the Digital Photography Field Trip Class and we explored the Spring Valley Nature Center. What? You didn’t know about the Digital Photography Field Trip Class? Here’s the class description:

Digital Photography Field Trip Class:
We have added this fun class to give you a practical application of everything you learned in our 101 class. You will get hands on training at a fabulous location for photography. This month we are visiting the Spring Valley Nature Center. If it rains, class will be rescheduled. Join April in this fun information filled class and you will learn all of this and more. No previous class required just a love of nature and a willingness to experiment and play. Please bring your digital camera & notebook.

(don’t worry– I will be doing this field trip class again in July. Please check the Craft Fancy calendar for date and time!)

Andi and I had a fabulous time during this field trip– We explored the silo, fields, marsh and the farm. What was fabulous about this trip was that she had one on one access to me, and was able to stop and ask questions and advice whenever the need arose.

Here are some highlights from the Digital Photography Field Trip Class:
Spring Valley Nature Center

Spring Valley Nature Center

Spring Valley Nature Center

Spring Valley Nature Center

For more photos from the outing, please check out the slideshow!

Saturday evening was fun too! I had a small dinner get-together with G, debs, and keith. Awesome dinner, fabulous dessert, wonderful conversation and a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit!! Next time I play trivial pursuit, I want debs on my team…I’m just sayin’… (Thank you guys for coming over!)
Sunday was spent shopping (hello Costco!) and relaxing. I don’t know about you, but I’m totally looking forward to the coming three day weekend!!!

101/365, originally uploaded by rottnapples.

my entry for this week’s Photo Friday!

124/365, originally uploaded by rottnapples.

my cube wall. I stare at this every day (all day) since I no longer sit by the windows…

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