Tag Archives: DIY

DIY Thanksgiving Family Portraits

25 Nov

‘Tis the season to show off


My own DIY family portrait

Everyone wants one of those nice framed family portraits hanging above the fireplace; and what better time to get them done then Thanksgiving? For it is a time when all the family gathers. Only problem is, portrait studios are becoming few and far between, and if you do locate one it just might cost you an arm and a leg. I say to this, why not take this cherished memory yourself?

Great gifts can come in frames

This idea may be an odd thought to some folks, but I can assure you that if executed correctly these family portraits can come out great. Also, if you are still trying to come up with a Christmas present for someone dear to you then why not put together a family portrait as a gift for them? In fact, I have done this myself a few times for several folks, my own mother being one of them. When my mother received this portrait she excitedly said qoute 1Wow! This is something that I can cherish forever, and quite possibly can be passed down though the family for centuries!qoute 2
In conclusion, if you got the reactions I got it will be well worth the effort. Now sense this is going to be done on Thanksgiving I am going to show you the best way of getting great/simple family portraits, because the last thing anyone needs around this time of year is another huge project.

Professional not required

Remember simple is the key with these homemade pieces, so this means using what you have around you; so let’s go through what I mean by this shall we?

  • First, A live person — This live person, no matter how uncomfortable with a camera they are, will be able to produce more dynamic shots then a camera just sitting on tripod with a set timer. Make sure that the person takes a lot of pictures, this way you have a wide selection to choose from.
  • Second, Sunlight — It is your new best friend, let this friend help you. Sunlight, at its best times will give you the closest thing to professional lighting. If possible, I would stay away from trying to set up any kind of inside “DIY Portrait studio”. Because without proper diffusers and just lights in general, shadows and blown out spots are going to be a major struggle.
  • Third, Have fun with your shoot. The liveliness of this shoot will be the success of it. That being said don’t be shy, go crazy, make each other laugh and bring props that are fun or you feel could add something to the portrait. The best part is your photographer is a friend, or family member, not some random person you might not feel completely comfortable with.

My Last tip for this project is – plan ahead. The simple fact is we do live in Wyoming, we don’t always have perfect sunshine with 75 degree weather, not to mention that it is winter time. Play it smart, avoid the running noises and heavy winter jackets in you pictures. Check ahead find out what day is going to work best and be the warmest for you and your family.


Hula Hooping: Not your Grandma’s Gym Routine

7 Nov

By Kylie Bovenzi

For this week’s section, I am going to veer slightly to the left and bring you into the wonderful world of dance, specifically the rising trend of Hula Hoopers. If you ventured outside over the summer to one of the parks Cheyenne or Laramie has to offer, you may have seen the occurrence of hula hoopers more and more. Certainly if you have traveled to any music festival you saw not only spectators engaged in dancing with a hoop, but also performers, onstage alongside various musical acts, shaking what their mama gave them with some flashy hoops along for the ride. Although hooping is not a new thing, it’s resurgence among live music lovers has catapulted this exercise into a whole new genre of performance art; and it doesn’t take years to gain knowledge of the hoops powers.  In fact, at the end of these five steps, you guys will have all the essentials needed to tape up your own hoop and start experimenting with some moves!

Hula How To: Five Steps to Boogy

Brooke Gritten with her $400 LED Hoop. I could not make this stuff up.

Brooke Gritten with her $400 LED Hoop. I could not make this stuff up.

  1. Every great Hooper (and believe me, there is one residing in you) must first procure their greatest asset: the hoop. Although your first thought may be to run to Walmart, those hoops are not heavy enough to keep a solid momentum up. You would be shaking your hips to no avail, while simultaneously cursing me for suggesting a fun “easy” past time. The best route is to make your own, which is extremely simple. Size the hoop to your liking, insert a connector piece, tape that baby up and BOOM. You are ready to start moving your hips. For a step by step guide, click here. If arts and crafts aren’t your thing, buy some cheap practice hoops here.
  2. Now that your hoop is ready to be hooped, there is one other must: music. If you are outside, I recommend putting in earphones. Pick something you enjoy, and something you know you can’t help moving around to. Hooping technique is important, but the hooper themselves is responsible for the dance and the feelings portrayed. It’s not about being perfect, but about moving around to your music and forgetting about other stresses for ten minutes at a time. This isn’t exercise, it’s YOU time.
  3. With your hoop in hand and music blasting, it’s time to start with some basics. Although it seems like common sense, practicing keeping it up around your hips is a must. This seems simple, and a bit redundant, but basic waist hooping must be perfected before you can even DREAM of some fancy isolations or tosses. The best stance to take initially is with your feet shoulder width apart. Isolate your waist and abs, concentrating on using those two parts of your body to guide the hoop in a circular motion. Hooping is more comfortable on one side rather than the other, much like being left or right handed. Practice both sides until you can keep the hoop up for longer spurts of time. Don’t feel discouraged if it doesn’t happen right away; this is the most basic and most frustrating part of hooping. Once you get comfortable though, tricks are easier and easier to learn.
  4.  While waist hooping, begin to alternate sliding one hand in and out of the gap the hoop makes as it is circling your waist. This is called ‘finding your gaps’. Being able to slip your hands all over the place without disrupting the flow of the hoop is a must for tricks; many tricks, like throwing the hoop over your head, entail seamlessly grabbing the hoop and guiding it up and around your body.  It is important to know the timing of when you can reach your hand(s) down or behind you without disrupting the hoop. Practice putting your hands in front of you and behind you.
  1. Practice practice practice! Hooping does not take much skill initially, and knowledge is gained extremely quickly. You will get out of it what you put into it, and even ten minutes a day will enable you to be better. Don’t move on to another trick until you have one down. For a list of tricks that are fun to try, click here.
Another one of my superior friends, Hanna Schulz, demonstrating hooping on the foot while performing at a show in Fort Collins... let's just say I would not look like this!

Another one of my superior friends, Hanna Schulz, demonstrating hooping on the foot while performing at a show in Fort Collins… let’s just say I would not look like this!

The most important thing to remember is to have fun. Hooping is the type of thing that need not be taken seriously. This is not your ballet class from k-12. Rather, it is a way to get up and moving in a fun, danceable way. It provides a way to express oneself that is different from other forms of dance, and boy will you look fantastic spinning an LED hoop like this one at next summer’s family BBQ or that concert you’ve been waiting all year for.  Enjoy yourself, lose yourself in the music and the atmosphere, and see what it does for your state of mind.