Tips for Fabulous Pet Pictures

Pet pictures
Isn’t it adorable when your pet rolls over and is begging for a belly rub, or sits pretty with their tongue hanging out just waiting for you to toss their favorite toy? These are the moments that are worth capturing. Your pets are part of your family, and their irresistible cuteness deserves a special place on your holiday card this year.

My boyfriend and I have two pups, and I am constantly snapping pics of them with their sweet puppy expressions. This year my holiday card will be splashed with puppy photos, since my friends and family love seeing my pups nearly as much as I do. So here’s a few tips, from one pet lover to another, that will help you take fantastic pet pictures to accent this year’s holiday card.

1. Pick a location
Pet pictures
Find a unique building for your pets to sit in front of, a beautiful nature scene or some unique flooring that complements their fur color. Make sure your location isn’t so enticing that it distracts from your furry friend. After all, you’re taking photos of your pet, not the location.

2. Bribery is a must (a.k.a. treats and toys).
You know your pets will do anything for a treat. So when you need them to stop being their usual hyper selves and sit still, don’t be afraid to bribe them with a treat or a favorite toy. Just hold your bribe of choice up next to your camera or balance it on their nose (if your pet can do tricks), and you’ll have their full attention.

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5 Christmas Card Photo Ideas

Photos, photos, photos. With the rise of Instagram and Pinterest over the past couple years, photos have become the focal point of online sharing. This trend has influenced our designs in Christmas cards, as we’ve introduced more Instagram-friendly cards as well as more cards with multiple photo cards. Here are 5 Christmas card photo ideas to help you to find and take the best photos, as you get ready for the holiday card season.

1. Sibling cuteness. Show off your kids’ personalities and how they interact on a daily basis. Are they silly? Does one like to tell jokes? Show that in your photos. Remember, sharing day-to-day fun gives friends and family a glimpse of your kids’ personalities, which is what they really want to see.
Christmas card photo ideas
Christmas card photo ideasChristmas card photo ideas

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A Letter to My Son: 10 Things I Want to Say

A letter to my son
My son is away at college, and based on our last phone call it sounds like he needs a little cheering up. My happy-go-lucky boy is facing the pressure of challenging classes and a grueling sports schedule. I know there’s not much I can do to help, but I still feel compelled to try. It’s time for a letter to my son and here are 10 things I will say:

  1. What I’m about to say is important. See? It’s so important that I actually wrote it on paper instead of putting it in a text message. No matter what else this letter says, it says someone cares.
  2. This, too, shall pass. When you are feeling lonely or ugly or scared or embarrassed or frustrated, try to see yourself as I see you: friendly, beautiful, brave, humble and persevering. Then give it a day or two. Things will be looking up. I’m sure of it.
  3. You are not the only one who’s having a bad day. Talk to people — your roommates, a teacher, your advisor, or the person sitting next to you on the bus. You may share a laugh. You may get some good advice. You will probably find your troubles are nothing compared to theirs.   Continue reading

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New, Personalized Home Decor Ideas

We are excited to introduce our new collection of personalized home decor ideas including wall art, custom posters, metal wall art, and easel art. They can be personalized with photos, background colors, and even captions in many cases! Each is perfect for a different type of decorating. Click on the images to see more details.

Wall Art
Home Decor Ideas Home Decor Ideas
Our personalized wall art is printed on acid free, archival quality paper and is suitable for framing. (Frame not included.) Each design is 11′ x 14″ and made from 100% recycled material. Choose from many different pieces, some with photos and some with editable text; some with colors you can change, others with pre-set artwork. These high-quality prints are an easy way to fill your walls with artwork.

Custom Posters
Home decor ideas Home decor ideas
These large, affordable posters are perfect for kids’ rooms, dorm rooms and quick photo displays. They’re printed on durable, tear-resistant polystyrene for kid-friendly locations, and are even water-resistant for short-term outdoor use such as graduation or birthday parties. They come in two sizes: 18″ x 24″ or 24″ x 36″.

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Derby-Themed Bridal Shower Ideas

Even though California Chrome had already been in the winner’s circle of the Kentucky Derby a few months before, this bride loved her Lucky in Love derby-themed shower, complete with fancy dresses and big, floppy hats traditionally worn at the race. To set the tone and tie all the bridal shower ideas together, the bride-to-be chose Off to the Races Bridal Shower Invitations.
Bridal shower ideas

Before heading to the track, all of the guests met at a local restaurant for lunch and to shower the bride with gifts. The table was sprinkled with photos of the bride growing up, along with pink and gold accents using the Gold Faux Glitter Small Table Decor. At each place setting were small favor boxes adorned with a golden horse and a ribbon stamped with each guest’s name. Inside the boxes were strawberry, chocolate and pistachio flavored French macarons and lucky two-dollar bills for betting.  Continue reading

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What to Wear for Your Family Photos 3

It’s tough picking out what to wear for your family photos, so we are sharing with you another three outfit ideas to help you choose this year’s wardrobe. Each outfit theme was inspired by our beautiful and unique Christmas cards. You can see more clothing ideas in our what to wear for your family photos part 1 and part 2 posts. These have been very popular with our fans and followers.

1. Stylish + Chic. Gray pairs well with many different colors and one of our favorites is using this rich purple to accent it. Top it off with some black and you have a stylish and chic wardrobe combination. This look was inspired by our modern Christmas cards.
What to wear for your family photos
Get this look here.

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Thank You Gift Ideas: A Special Gift for a Midwife

Like many families can attest, when you have a baby, you are so thankful for the people around you who help to ensure the safety of the birth experience. After a lot of research and discussion, my husband and I opted for a homebirth, which means our reliance and trust in our midwife had to be strong. Erika Urban of the River Valley Birth Center was amazing – she arrived at our house at 1am and little Justin Morgan Bottner was born at 6am.Thank you gift ideas

I don’t know how she does it, helping moms birth babies at all hours of the day and night, running her own midwifery business, raising four children with her wonderful husband…AND building a birth center!

Yes, this woman is truly amazing and such an inspiration. She purchased a very old home on auction and began renovations. They had to tear out walls, floors, bathrooms, everything. Yet clearly the house-turned-birth-center was coming along beautifully.

After Justin was born, we wanted to do something for her that would be meaningful, something she’d treasure for many years to come. But that’s a tough gift to buy! There are tons of thank you gift ideas out there for friends, sisters, moms, husbands, but what about midwives?! That’s when it dawned on us that the best thing would be something that reminded her of how far she’d come.

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Photo tips for creating your birth announcements

I have to say, I have completely enjoyed becoming a mother of three! Of course there are moments where life is complete chaos, but I’ve found it to be a good chaos. I think the main reason is not so much the new baby, but the realization that this is okay. I can now accept that there will always be toys on the floor, five more loads of laundry, and dishes in the sink. As a mom of three now, I’m cool with that!Photo Tips

Of course, the transition wasn’t easy….I remember the day my 3-year-old pulled frozen peas from the freezer and stomped each one into the floor. I also remember the day my 5-year-old got so mad, she put a hole in the wall from slamming the door. Ha! We definitely had a “transition” but hey, what family doesn’t? Imperfections and all, I’m loving this life.

When Justin was born, I was pretty excited to be able to send birth announcements, but you’d think I would’ve been all prepared with my favorite designs well before the baby was born…not so much. That’s the problem with working for a company like Pear Tree – there are ALWAYS new designs, and it was nearly impossible for me to narrow it down.

The most important step for me, besides choosing the design, is choosing the right photos, so I thought I’d share my process and a few photo tips for organizing and editing them with you.

First, I copy all the photos that I might use to their own folder – this keeps everything separated and easy to navigate. Then I start the editing process. I use Picasa, a free service that is really simple to use. There are tons of free systems online – I like this one because it helps to organize and identify the people in the photos. For each of the 10 or so photos that I really like, I do the following:

  1. Brighten with Fill Light. I love to do this because it removes the imperfections easily and adds a glow to the photo.
    Creating your birth announcements from photo tips to birth announcement designs #peartreegreetings
  2. Contrast with Shadows. Depending on how dark or light I want my photos, I’ll play with this until it looks right. With the original photo here on the left, you can see that adding a bit of Fill Light and Shadows really enhanced the image. I don’t do any Cropping at this stage because I may need some of the outer edges of the image for the card.
    Creating your birth announcements from photo tips to birth announcement designs #peartreegreetings
  3. Next I might try making it a Black and White photo, which is as simple as a single button. Sometimes there I’ll play with the Fill Light and Shadows again to make sure the photo looks perfect.
    Creating your birth announcements from photo tips to birth announcement designs #peartreegreetings
  4. And last, I add a Blur photos to really draw the eye to the moment of the photo rather than the patterns and textures around the edges.
    Creating your birth announcements from photo tips to birth announcement designs #peartreegreetings
    Creating your birth announcements from photo tips to birth announcement designs #peartreegreetings

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Staff Picks: Our Favorite Christmas Cards for 2014

Our small Pear Tree team works with our Christmas cards every day, and of course we all have our favorites. Below we each share our favorite Christmas card ideas for 2014. If you’d like to see more about the card, simply click on the image. Let us know which one you like best by commenting below!

Angela, The Trendsetter

This is my favorite card because it’s just completely different from anything anyone else will be sending this year. I call the look, “rustic glam.” Between the kraft paper, faux foil letters and jute twine holding it all together, it’s the perfect mix of natural and shiny materials, which fits my eclectic style. Not only that, but there’s room for five photos on the back, so each of my four kids gets a spot, with one left for mom & dad. Perfect!

Brandon, The Artsy Guy

My favorite card from this year’s collection? Hands down, Shiny Foil Dots. The big foil stamped dots on the front add the perfect amount to glitz to help your holiday photo shine. You can also choose one of our four foil options. (My favorite is the gold glitter.) The back offers a collage of eight photos, which allows you to show off anything you wish. You can add your finishing touch by adding your own personal greeting to the front. Feliz Navidad!

Brianna, The Mom With Three Girls

Each year when it comes time to choose a holiday card, I look for the same three things: unique design, lots of photos, and room to write about the family’s year. The Be Jolly Ribbon Booklet Christmas card is perfect because the booklet format includes many spots for photos, along with a place to write a short letter about the year. Plus, I know that anyone who receives the card will be amazed by the design, because it’s not your traditional flat holiday card.

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Frightening Halloween Food Ideas

We, at Pear Tree Greetings, held our third annual Halloween Treat Day! We love coming up with spooky, yet tasty, Halloween food ideas to share with you. Below you will see we have everything from bat wings to worms to black cats to inspire your Halloween ideas this year. Enjoy!

Worms in the dirt made by Shelly. These creepy crawly worms will gross out everyone at the party! Add crumbled Oreos to make it look like they are crawling in dirt. Doesn’t get better than this for Halloween! Get the recipe here.
Halloween food ideas

Healthy twist on Candy Corn made by Lindsey. Such a cute idea using three vegetables – cauliflower, carrots and yellow peppers – and creating it into candy corn shape. Perfect finger foods for adults and children!
Halloween food ideas

Graveyard taco dip made by Brianna. This dip was a hit at our office party! Simply make taco dip and use Mission Tortilla chips to stand up in the dish to look like a tombstone. Use black icing to write RIP on the chips.
Halloween food ideas

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