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.
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.
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!
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:
- Brighten with Fill Light. I love to do this because it removes the imperfections easily and adds a glow to the photo.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Planning a Halloween party? Our spooky new Halloween invitations set the tone for your haunted house or costume party the minute your guests open the envelope. Grungy, weathered backgrounds and creepy fonts with spiders, ghosts and skulls lurking about are just what your party needs, right?
Halloween decorations including table decor, favor tags and treat tags can be customized to match your invitations. Some treat tags are even designed to hold lollipops and can be personalized for handing out at school!