photography and digital scrapbooking


Vintage Charm in Ashland County

Designs on antique window frames, peeling paint, and rusted metal are the vintage elements I love to discover and photograph.  Our recent trip to my home state of Ohio included visits to back roads and small towns where I was fortunate to find some favorite photography subjects. I especially enjoyed discovering the beautifully detailed vintage house. It is currently under renovation and will eventually be a focal point on a quiet street near downtown Ashland.

We were fortunate to have good weather and a little more time than usual during our stay in Ohio. I was able to visit other rural areas in the north central part of the state and will be posting those photos soon.



The Coolest Garden Colors: Hydrangea

One of my favorite plants is blooming! We grow the bigleaf species of hydrangea and one angel wing bush. I love these old-fashioned plants for the vibrant cool colors, but also because they are nearly maintenance free. The only care we provide is to fertilize them once or twice per year. We have not tried to change the colors by changing the pH of the soil. But it would be fun to try next year. I would love to see dark pink mixed with the blue and purple!


Eastern Box Turtle and Baby Birds

Thanks to my neighbor, Yvette, I was able to photograph an eastern box turtle today! She found him on her patio and gave him water while she waited for me to arrive. Our guess is that he was searching for water. Rainfall has been scarce this spring and judging from the turtle’s eager approach to the water, he was thirsty.

I placed the turtle on a large rock and shot the photos from various angles. I used a macro lens and handheld the camera. After the photo shoot, we returned him to the shade and his much-needed water.

Our baby cardinals are five days old. They will be ready to fly in six or seven days! They briefly woke when I gently moved the branches back and snapped two photos with my compact camera. Amazing how wild babies are so aware of their surroundings and how quickly they grow! I hope to take at least one more photo before they leave the nest.


Spring Flower Photography

Flower photography is a joy this spring. The weather has been excellent for weeks, providing lots of warm sunshine and cool breezes. Many flowers are in full bloom, but none have captured my interest more than the Foxglove plants. I started them from seed last year. They do not bloom the first year, so it has been a long wait! The twelve plants are blooming in shades of purple, pink and white. The Snapdragons were also started from seed last year. They over-wintered in our raised-bed garden, spreading and growing to a height of three feet. Photographing the tall Foxglove spires and Snapdragons was a challenge, because they sway constantly in the wind. Fortunately, I had plenty of light which allowed me to freeze motion with a fast shutter speed.

Which flowers are currently blooming in your gardens? Are you enjoying wildflowers too? I would love to hear from you and see your spring flower photos!


Digital Flowers and Collage

My love of art, photography, and technology comes together when I use my photos to produce secondary files. I use a variety of Photoshop techniques to extract a subject from the background and prepare it for use as a single element. “Painterly Flowers” is an example of extracted flowers that I processed for a subtle painted texture. The flowers add a realistic touch of nature to digital layouts and cards.

I designed the “Composed” line of digital collage by arranging highly textured papers, adding paint, then transforming each collage into a digital file. The color version is ready to use.  The grayscale templates allow for customization by adding a color fill in Photoshop or other image-editing software. The papers crop easily to 8.5 x 11. For a custom fabric, design a layout with a collage paper background and images of your choice, then print on fabric sheets made for ink jet printers. Use the entire sheet to cover a journal, or cut pieces for use in art journals or mixed media projects.

(Digital scrapbooking products used are no longer available.)

Click on the first image to open the gallery.

“Delight” digital scrapbooking layout by Karen Chandler uses:

  • Mini Paper: Composed
  • Embellishment Mini: Painterly Flowers
  • Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 1
  • Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 3
  • ScrapHappy Embellishment Templates Maxi: Old Photo Frames
  • ScrapHappy Paper Templates Midi: Doilies 3
  • ScrapHappy Embellishment Templates Midi: Banners with Type Paths
  • Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit

“Peek – a boo” digital scrapbooking layout by Karen Chandler uses:

  • Mini Embellishments: Painterly Flowers
  • Mini Paper: Composed
  • ScrapHappy Brushes Midi: Old Photo Edges
  • ScrapHappy Brushes Midi: Edges
  • ScrapHappy Styles Maxi: Chalk Fill Warm CK01
  • ScrapHappy Styles Midi: Zippy VR01
  • Dreams Mini Kit
  • Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit
  • Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 2

“Barbie Purse” digital scrapbooking layout by Karen Chandler uses:

  • ScrapHappy Paper Templates Midi: Composed
  • Mini Embellishments: Painterly Flowers
  • ScrapHappy Page Templates Mini: In The Round 2
  • Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 1
  • Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 3
  • Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit
  • About Mom Mini Kit
  • Maxi Embellishments: Transparent Tape
  • ScrapHappy Styles Midi: Transparent Tape TK01
  • Maxi Embellishments: Document It Bis Maxi Kit
  • Dreams Mini Kit
  • Friendly Font

“Just Mommy!” digital scrapbooking layout by Karen Chandler uses:

  • ScrapHappy Paper Templates Midi: Composed
  • ScrapHappy Embellishment Template Midi: Photo Clusters 1
  • Life Story Midi Kit
  • Batik Maxi Kit
  • Maxi Paper: Journaling 2
  • ScrapHappy Styles Maxi: Glitter – Pastels JH02
  • ScrapHappy Brushes Midi: Well Worn

“Toddler Treasure Hunt” digital scrapbooking layout by Karen Chandler uses:

  • Dreams Mini Kit
  • ScrapHappy Page Templates Album: Baby Book 2
  • Mini Paper: Composed
  • Life Story Midi Kit
  • Maxi Paper: Journaling 2
  • ScrapHappy Styles Maxi: Glitter – Pastels JH02
  • ScrapHappy Brushes Midi: Well Worn



Thyme and chives are just two of the many herbs I have in my garden. I am also growing two types of mint, five types of basil, dill, rosemary, oregano, parsley, and lavender. I use herbs everyday in salads and entrees.

Herbs layout

Journaling: My early spring perennial herbs flowered in April this year. What a joy to have a fragrant garden!

Herbs layout:  Nature Collection, Eva Kipler; Herbal Word Art, AWI; FileSave1, CVW.


Notes on Flowers, Photography, and Texture

azalea flowers

This handcrafted mug (a gift from my daughter) is the perfect container for a few sprigs of coral azalea flowers. I shot this at f11 to show a bit of the ground cover shapes in the background.

camellia, rose, bottle

Stacking the flowers provides an unusual perspective of the camellia and rose blossoms. Just for fun, I created a neutral background color. In Photoshop I created a black and white photo on the layer below the color photo. Then I masked the background of the color photo and set the blend mode of the color photo to ‘color’.

chive flowers

The chives have flowered already. The delicate petals are a lovely addition to all the green in my early spring garden.

red tulips

The red tulips were the first to bloom in March. So pretty when backlit in early morning sun.

purple tulips

The purples were the second set of tulips to bloom. They were surprisingly long-lasting; staying pretty for about a month.


I did not grow the blueberries, but could not resist the sweetness of piling them in a little milkglass bowl I’ve kept since childhood.

red rose

My rose bushes bloom for seven or eight months in full sun. Last year a few roses bloomed in November.

white clematis

Clematis grows so easily here in Georgia. I have three shades of purple and two white varieties. This one cascades over the wood and wire fence on the west side of our property.

pink azalea bud

Azalea buds start opening in April. Throughout the month they bloom in white, three varieties of pink, and two varieties of coral. I shot this backlit photo with the aperture wide open. I oriented the camera to the side of the blossom to capture more of it in focus.

I love to add depth and character to my casual flower photos. Working in Photoshop, I layer photo textures and apply various blending modes. Then I mask areas of the photo for particular effects. Adding a levels layer to adjust tonality is usually the final touch.

Have fun with the many free photo textures offered on the web! I listed a few resources for textures on my post about working with textures.


Purple Tulips

My purple tulips were at their peak of beauty yesterday. The late afternoon sunlight was changing fast, so I wasted no time getting my tripod set up and testing different compositions.

Because I was only focusing on purple, I did not notice the azalea flower buds behind the tulips. When I downloaded my photos, I was surprised to see the reddish spots in the mostly green bokeh. I included two of those photos, since I could not decide which one I liked best!