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Tie Heartstrings By Working Together On Family Projects. These 3 DIY Projects Are Sure To Strengthen Family Bonds

Family Projects

Family projects are a great way to enjoy one another while accomplishing a shared goal. Here are three family projects that can improve your home and your yard while spending time with the family. 

Do A Picture Perfect Family Project With A DIY Family Photo Shoot!

Family Portrait

Getting a family portrait taken can be expensive. But it does not have to be!

By taking your own family pictures you can save money, develop a talent and have fun!

Here is a guide on how to get your own family portraits rolling!

Back Drop Supplies

I bought both the green screen and the brown back drop. The brown is nice because it is neutral and goes with any clothing colors. You can get a separate frame but I got the green screen with mine so it was like killing two birds with one stone. The green screen is so fun to goof around with different backdrops!

Make-Up

Make-up is optional but a natural look on the ladies always gives the best result. Here is a video of the process that we use when we do make-up for our movies and photo shoots.

  • Step 1. Foundation
  • Step 2. dark brown on bottom half of the eye lid and a lighter hue on the top half of eye lid.
  • Step 3. Mascara
  • Step 4. Light bronze on cheek bone and jaw line.
  • Step 5. Dark bronze on temples.
  • Step 6. White on the forehead, ears, nose and chin.
  • Step 7. Blush on the apples of the cheeks.
  • Step 8. Blend
  • Step 9. Lipstick
  • Step 10. Eyebrows


DIY family projects

Lighting

I bought something like this lighting kit for moviemaking but it has come in handy for family portraits and really makes the pictures turn out great!

The light kit I have comes with two large lights stands (which are also in the kit linked to above) and one smaller (not in the kit). The kit includes three "cool" light bulbs as well.

Usually, you will want to change the smaller stand to a warm light to add some warmth to the set. The lights come with a very durable carrying bag and a safe case for the bulbs.

Set Up

Set up the back drop frame and attach the backdrop.

If you have a lot of people in your picture, set the backdrop up the wide way so you have more room to place people. (The clamps come in handy for this.) 

If there are a few people, set it up the narrow way and lay the remainder of the backdrop on the floor closer to the camera. If possible, get feet in these shots. It will give it a more professional look.

Set the two large lights in between the camera and the backdrop. Their tops adjust so point them toward the center of the screen. The small light is for filling in any shadows. I encourage you to use a window to make a broad cast of light on one side of your set. 

If there is a light in the ceiling make sure that under people's eyes are not dark looking. Sometimes this is overlooked and it may be best to leave the ceiling light off. If the shot looks better with it, by all means, leave it on.

A prop on the set gives dimension to the picture. Be sure it is in a spot where balance is maintained and it is not distracting.

Set the camera so that you can barely see off the backdrop. It is better to crop in when editing the photos than to have someone's head cut out of shot on your best picture. 

Positioning

Study some professional photos and try to mimic the poses and positioning. If none seem to work for you, just do whatever looks even or symmetrical. 

Here's another tip: take plenty of pictures. Having five good pictures of each person/position makes selecting the "right" picture to print after the shoot. 

family portraits

Get All Hands On Deck And Landscape A Mary Garden As A Family

Mary Garden

In the summer, the best kinds of family projects are outdoor ones.

Using the skills you’ve begun developing while teaching your children chores, you’ll find many hands make light work with this project.

Dedicating a particular place in your yard and planning a garden for the Blessed Virgin is a great way to show her the honor she deserves. 

Plan The Perfect Mary Garden Consulting The Color Wheel And Considering The Constraints In Your Area

To start select the place you would like to plant the garden. It should be spacious enough to accommodate the flowers you would like to include, but not too far from your house. You want it somewhere that you will visit it often. (Plus, if it's closer to the house, it will make you feel more like weeding it!)

Before purchasing flowers, draw a sketch of your space. From this sketch consider the height of the flowers and your overall color scheme. 

You can use a color wheel to help you choose flowers. Use colors that are opposite each other on the wheel so as to create the most striking results. Use several shades of green to work as neutrals to use between the contrasting flower colors. 

Create a list of flowers you’d like to use then adapt those flowers to flowers that look similar but work well in your yard. 

Traditional Mary gardens contain flowers named after the Blessed Virgin Mary but obviously different zones and climates will require different varieties of flowers. For best results choose perennials that grow well in your area. 

Mary Garden Patrick And Faustina

Also remember to consider the unique garden conflicts you are going to have in your area.

As we've often lived in dry rural areas, we have had to use deer and draught resistant flowers.

I knew what flowers I wanted to plant then found deer and draught resistant alternatives.

This makes it so that the garden will turn out beautiful and be a huge success.

No one likes seeing day lilies about to bloom one day and wake up to find them completely mowed down in the morning!

Although I must confess that I keep planting day lilies in the hope that someday the deer will leave them alone. 

Also keep in mind whether you need shade or sun plants according to your selected spot.

Don’t forget to add non-flower items to your sketch. Things to consider include: 

  • Bench 
  • Path 
  • Prie dieu 
  • Arbor 
  • Trellis

Some or all of these elements add greatly to your Mary Garden. Planning where they fit now will be a huge asset to your planting later on.

Another important element to consider is having a place for kids to put little gifts for their queen. Little ones love praying and offering little dandelion nosegays to Mary.

Providing a path and allowing some room near the statue for their little feet is a good design idea because, of course, their dandelion nosegay is so much more important than the hundreds of dollars you have spent on the flowers you have planted.

Get The Whole Family Involved And Start Planting Your Mary Garden

Mary Garden Just planted

Now it's time to invite everyone out to the yard. Chances are the boys weren't too interested in the planning stages, but this is where you're going to really need them. 

First of all, prepare the area by removing sod and using black tarp to kill all the weeds and their seeds.

Once your plot is prepared, go get those first few plants. You don't have to buy them all at once, especially considering flower prices, but you can if you want to.

If you do choose only to get a little as a time, let me advise you to get the flowers closest to the statue first. This allows you to work you way outward instead of running out of room when you get to the statue. 

Pay close attention to how much space each plant needs. It's usually written on the tag when you buy the plant. As you can see in the above picture, the garden may look a little spaced and naked at first, but it will fill out if you planted according to the indications on the tag. 

Don't forget to frequently visit Our Lady in your Mary garden, water it, and keep it up with weeding. Fertilizing once a week at the beginning is a good idea. 

Last On Our List Of Family Projects: Make An Easy And Affordable Picket Fence!

picket fence link button

The final project on our family projects list is affordable and well suited for teenagers. You can often find free pallets posted on Craiglist or other publications. This project assumes a support fence along with posts and cross boards already established.

Family projects like this are ideal for teenage boys because it teaches them valuable home maintenance skills and gives them a sense of accomplishment all while adding functional beauty to the family home. 

Learning some basic home maintenance skills while getting familiar with power tools is a must for teenage boys just as learning homemaking skills is important for girls. This is a perfect project for introducing these skills to your boys.

picket fence small button

In a recent interview, Dirty Job's Mike Rowe shed some light on why physical labor oftentimes is more rewarding than professional or administrative work.

To loosely paraphrase, he said...

The fact that you can see that you did a good job and nobody has to tell you that you did a good job day in and day out is very rewarding. 

It's good for us to feel a sense of accomplishment and to take pride in our work. In a project like this pallet picket fence, your teens can get a taste of this accomplishment.

Making this fence is easy. Just follow these instructions.

  • Saw off the boards on the pallets. A SawsAll comes in handy in this step.
  • Next, cut dog ears on all the boards with a chop saw.
  • Now is a good time to paint the boards.
  • Cut the butts off the boards with a chop saw to make them all the same length.
  • Now it is time to nail the pallet pickets to the bracing boards. Decide how far apart you want the pickets. If you use a “junk” board or a scrap 2x4 you can continue a uniform space. Tie a string so that it just touches the top of your picket from one end of the fence to the other. Line the top of the picket to the string each time you nail them and they will form a nice straight fence.

Paint the entire fence one final time. White is standard, but you can paint it any color you want

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