Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Inspiration Wednesday: Meaningful gifts, week 4

As homemade as I got this year - paper snowflakes for the tree.

Ho ho ho! This week snuck up on me. Aided by a stomach bug that hit our whole family, I've been off the computer more than I'd like. But I wanted to share my last week of holiday gift inspirations.

Making homemade gifts can help save money & simplify your list. Who wouldn't like yummy truffles or relaxing bath balls? Here are some of my favorite ideas (that you'll still have time to make before Christmas) on the web.

I've seen instructions for making these on several sites but leave it to Martha to have the easiest to follow directions. So break out some old jelly jars and kitschy figurines. Also beautiful with costume jewelry or orphaned kids' toys.

Instructables breaks down even the most complex project into steps with helpful photos and comments. I like the variations on the bath bomb - you can customize different essential oils and colors to your giftee.

I am not a fan of cutesy or country, but this stationery takes both and makes a kinda mod finished product. The method Home Made Simple lays out would work with leaves, small pine boughs and even your child's hand-print.

Need more ideas? I love 100 Homemade Gift Ideas and hope to make more of her ideas next year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Inspiration Wednesday: Meaningful gifts, week 3

 At our co-op lobby tree surrounded by fake gifts

This year we are simplifying our gift giving. Our families aren't over-the-top in general so the holidays aren't completely gluttonous anyway. But add a couple of grandchildren into the mix and the sheer number of gifts tends to grow.

So when I read about the tradition of giving your children only 4 gifts at Christmas, I was intrigued. Want. Need. Wear. Read.

I'm not going to divulged the gifts now,  but it's been a fun way to think about what to give Juliet this year. You would think the "want" gift would have to be the best (and oh baby, it is GOOD), but we've got a budding bookworm on our hands. I'm really looking forward to picking just the right book and adding a personal message for her to look back on each year.

At our co-op lobby tree surrounded by fake gifts

What do you think about giving want, need, wear and read gifts this year?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Keep calm

Oh, I knew I loved that stiff upper lip Britishness

This week has been B-A-N-A-N-A-S (are the kids still using that?) with an art fair, day of photo shoots, tree buying, job interview & general holiday mayhem.

I haven't been posting a lot of the photos I have been shooting lately because my clients are giving some as gifts and the receivers read my blog. Man, there will be a glut of "kids in front of Christmas tree" posts come Boxing Day.

Speaking of Boxing Day, it's a British holiday celebrated the day after Christmas. It was traditionally a day to give gifts to those with less. Hasn't really caught on in America - unless you count returning-crap-you-hate. Since it falls on a Saturday this year, I've been invited to a few Boxing Day parties. Which sounds nice, but after the glut of food, family & frivolity in the weeks leading up to Christmas, I'd much prefer a spa day or at least a couple of hours reading in bed.

Another British tradition that seems to caught on this year (at least in the design world) is the slogan "Keep Calm and Carry On." I've seen it emblazoned on tee-shirts, holiday ornaments, posters. My favorite so far is the baby onesie.

I know this slogan was popularized during the London blitz in WWII but the message seems to resonate today. In my own life, both family and friends have had a rough year. So whether it's money troubles, marital woes, general holiday mayhem or poor health, here's hoping a little British resolve will help ease the burden. Until then, there's another British import I can recommend.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Inspiration Wednesday: Meaningful gifts, week 2

On the same animal theme from last week's Meaningful Gifts post, this week I'm plugging Heifer International.

A worthy gift on it's own, but why not make the gift-giving even more fun by pairing one of their animal-based donations with a coresponding children's book? That way the kids in your life will have the added joy of opening a present!

Some pairing ideas:

Flock of Ducks = Make Way for Ducklings

Trees = The Giving Tree

Pigs = Olivia

I'll bet you can match the perfect animal to your child's favorite book. They even offer adorable gift cards to let everyone know you donated in their name. How cute slipped into one of these books!

Santa photos: laughter and tears and everything in between

Poor freaked-out Elisa had no sympathy from my bored daughter - Kristin Burns

On Sunday I took around 100 photos of children with Santa at our local park's holiday fundraiser. It was exhausting of course, but really fun too. A few things helped me enjoy the day:

  • Hiring an assistant to handle the money & printing
  • Buying a new portable printer
  • Taking at least 2 shots per child 
  • Keeping calm & positive when the inevitable tears came
  • Allowing families to come back later when their kids were ready
  • Photos of my daughter with Santa without braving the 2 hour line at Macy's 
  • Friends stopping by with their children who were comfortable with me

Success! A slight smile - Kristin Burns

There were so many adorable babies and children who were excited, nervous, apathetic or terrified (sometimes all of these emotions wrapped up in one child!) when they first spotted Santa. It's hard to pick just a few, but here are some to brighten your day.

Santa had the patience of a saint. Saint Nick that is - Kristin Burns

Probably the best thing to come out of the day was meeting even more of my neighbors. I've already set up some photo shoots with a few families and I'm excited to keep expanding. After all, when I got on his lap, I did ask Santa for a successful 2010.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Makers Market NYC Saturday

Hope to see you Saturday 12.12.09 for a fun and affordable art fair just in time for holiday gifts. Here's a sneak peek at some of the photos I'll be selling in a few sizes and price points.

Please spread the word!

Recent nursing portraits

A bonding snack for Stacey & Owen - Kristin Burns 

I'm a big fan of breastfeeding - nutritionally sound, economically smart & developmentally positive. That said, it's a huge commitment of time and energy when you are low on both. So when a new mom wants me to take a photo of her nursing her baby, I feel honored to document their intimate bond.

Amanda & Elliot snuggle up - Kristin Burns

Plus the babies are blissed out in milky-sweetness afterward, which makes for some beautiful photos.

A full and happy Owen - Kristin Burns 

Let me know if you would like me to capture the fleeting time when you're still literally nourishing your baby.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday fun: Crying on Santa's lap

I have been drafted to photograph the children on Santa's lap for our local Holiday Boutique to support the Sunnyside Gardens Park on Sunday. Stop by if you'd like to avoid the creepy mall Santa and bored photogra-elves.  

Sunnyside Gardens Park Holiday Boutique
Phipps Social Hall 
51-01 39th Avenue
Sunnyside, NY 11104
Sunday December 6th

Open 10-4, Santa from 11-3

So I don't know why these are so funny to me, but they are. Enjoy!


Of course, like everything in the world ever, there's a website dedicated to children crying on Santa's lap if you'd like to see more. I really love this vintage one Darth Vader posted.

Courtesy of

Let's hope the children this weekend will have a better time with our Santa. Or if not, that the photos are as funny as these.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December promotion: Give one session, get one 50% off

Why is Connor so happy? He finished his holiday shopping on - KB

Everyone loved the special offer for Black Friday so much I've decided to extend it through December. I'd like to think it's solely due to their love of my photography, but I'm sure skipping the malls and finishing their holiday shopping in one fell swoop is a big plus too!

In addition to giving The Little Dozen (a series of 12 mini-sessions for the first year of a baby's life) you can now purchase gift certificates for individual photo sessions. To celebrate, when you purchase a session to give, you receive 50% off a session for your own baby or child!

Personalized & packaged to give - how easy is that?

Bonus: book your family's session for a day during December or January and you'll also receive a FREE 8x10 portrait for yourself and one for the gift-getter. Check out the site for pricing and my portfolio.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Inspiration Wednesday: Meaningful gifts, week 1

Checking out the grubby hands on their way - Kristin Burns

When I first mentioned the Queens Zoo to my husband, who grew up in Flushing, he seemed to remember they had some squirrels and maybe a dog. Ha! Luckily either his memory is bad or the zoo has vastly improved from his childhood.

We have visited the zoo with our daughter and my parents. Walking from enclosure to enclosure, it's a nice little circle with lots of trees and places to rest along the way. I loved watching the sea lions swimming & pumas lazily checking us out. But the real star is the petting zoo.

Curious sheep - Kristin Burns

The staff couldn't be friendlier. I'm hoping to check it out again this year now that my daughter is walking and can terrorize follow the animals better. I love that she can begin learning about the right way to treat animals and how important taking care of our planet is to all living creatures.

Zoos can get pretty crowded in NYC during the summer, but the Queens Zoo is open year-round. This month it looks like they are giving the bears presents every weekend. How cute is that?

Andean bears get Holiday Gifts - Suzanne Bolduc ©WCS

Why not give a zoo membership to the animal lovers on your gift list too? The annual membership includes admission to the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park, Prospect Park, and Queens Zoos. A family of four can have membership for as low as $120 - a lovely gift that gives back to conservation and wildlife.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December goals & review of bizarre November

Hmm, where to find a skating dress? - Kristin Burns

Hooray! November is over & December is finally here. Peppermint lattes, gift shopping and Baby It's Cold Outside on repeat. Plus it's time to post my goals on Modish Biz Tips for a brand spanking new month.

First a look back at my November goals:
1. Pick new local business to host Mini-sessions - done, shoot at Claret 12/19
2. Schedule Boston shoot for early December - didn't happen due to more NYC bookings, considering Boxing Day though
3. Autism photo shoot - moved to 12/8
4. Compile email mailing list - not really, mainly using Facebook & Twitter
5. Spread word about holiday cards - done 
6. Seek out more photo editing and producing work- technically yes, I did seek

I'll say it, November was kinda weird. I've never had more interest in my photography and yet experienced my first drop in photo shoots and orders. Luckily December is already almost completely booked with shoots and I hope more and more photo print orders. I'm looking forward to a few days of mini-sessions where I can meet even more new families.

On to December!

1. Really enjoy the holiday season with my friends and family
2. Have fun at the chaotic, busy but rewarding days of shoots - be they in-home, mini-sessions or, gasp, Santa
3. Purchase/order/make thoughtful gifts for my favorite people
4. Taxes!
5. Reach out to people I admire for more support & ideas

Wishing everyone reading this a lovely & peaceful holiday season and a productive New Year!