Christene Schaaf, Photographer

About C.S. Photography, Inc.

C.S. Photography features the unique Home.Life.Art family sessions and Bébe Firsts sessions. What is Life Art? Well...Life Art is YOU! It is the relationship that is captured between family. A moment... a portrait created by me and turned into beautiful Life Art décor that makes you smile every time you walk by it and inspires your home to greet you.

My blog is filled with the inner workings of my photography passion. I will be featuring sneak peeks, tutorial tidbits, Life Art Décor suggestions, product offerings, client gallery designs and inspiration.

If you would like more information or want to schedule a Home.Life.Art or Bébe First session, please visit or email

Archive: ‘Holiday’

Williamsburg Wreaths | Virginia Photographer

Friday, December 16th, 2011

It’s become a tradition of ours to head to Williamsburg to see all the beautiful wreaths. If you haven’t done it before, it’s worth the drive. I’m hoping we can see these for a few more years before moving on to our next duty station. Traditions are hard to come by in the military. :)

Photo Block Ornaments | Virginia Life Art Photographer

Friday, October 28th, 2011

As promised, I’m showcasing more ways to bring Life Art into your holiday gifts! This project idea came from a dear friend who has way too many craft supplies on hand. ;) Her hubby had cut these 1.5″ blocks out of scrap wood for us and she painted them black and predrilled holes through the middle. If you are like me and are terrified at the thought of using a saw to cut tiny little blocks, you can search your local craft store or buy some online. I found these on Etsy. Or you can repurpose your child’s ABC blocks that he no longer uses.

The finished ornament:

How to:
1) Cut blocks to suit your size. These were 1.5″ cubes
2) Paint a color of your choice
3) Predrill holes through center big enough to fit yarn, rope, ribbon, etc. through.
4) Print out and cut pictures to fit on side of block. You will need 3-4 pictures per block. You use one side of the block to write on.
5) Using Mod Podge or other decoupage product, brush Mod Podge on one side of block. Place precut picture on top of Mod Podge. Brush a final coat of Mod Podge over picture. Repeat for all 4 sides of block. Let dry

6) When blocks are dry, tie a knot in the end of your rope, ribbon, etc. You can use a large needle to thread through the hole in the block. After each block is threaded, tie another knot to keep the block above from slipping down. Do this for all three blocks and tie off with a loop on top to hang your ornament with.

Just a note: If you are writing in one of the block spaces, do that before you Mod Podge. I photoshopped out the names on the blocks above because I’m an internet safety fanatic when it comes to kids. :)

What a great and simple gift this is! I’m thinking grandparent gifts! And if you really want to go all out, then wrap it in one of the Photo Gift Bags we made!

Cotton Photo Gift Bag | Life Art DIY Photo Crafts

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

I love these bags in the Somerset Magazine. I thought they would make perfect photo gift bags with a few modifications. I’m thinking of using these in my business to wrap gifts, gift cards, etc. but you can use them to bring your own family life art wrapped up!

I bought a few yards of White Cotton Muslin fabric. It was $1.99/yd not on sale, so an incredibly cost effective way to present a unique gift. You can either use an iron on transfer paper to transfer a printed image to a piece of fabric, or follow this DIY way to print using a common kitchen item, which is how I printed the image in the picture above.

1) Using a standard sheet of printer paper, trace and cut a piece of freezer paper. Trace and cut the same size piece of muslin cotton fabric.
2) Iron the fabric to the shiny side of the freezer paper. Cut off any lose strands of material to make sure they don’t get caught in the paper.
3) Feed one sheet of fabric paper at a time through printer to print directly on fabric. I found the best way was to print the image on the bottom half of the sheet. The paper seemed to get caught when it had to print right at the top of the paper. This way it fed half of the sheet through first before printing. If I wanted 2 images per sheet, I printed the first image on the bottom, turned the paper around and fed the sheet through again.
4) Remove freezer paper backing from fabric and iron out fabric again.

I trimmed the fabric photo to size and frayed the edges by pulling at the end strings.

In the meantime I cut out two same sized pieces of the same cotton muslim fabric. Mine ended up being about the size of an 8×10 sheet of paper.

Using a brightly colored thread, I sewed the transferred image onto one of the pieces of fabric in a messy circle and went around twice.

I pinned and hemmed the top of each piece of fabric, fit them together with the image sandwiched in the middle of the two pieces and sewed around the edge of the two pieces leaving the top of the pouch open. I actually decided to add a button flap to my pouch so I cut out two smaller pieces of fabric the same width as the bag and sewed along the edges leaving a small opening to be able to turn the small pieces of fabric inside out revealing the clean edges. I sewed this piece of fabric to the top of the back piece of fabric to my bag creating that messy 2nd hem line on the top of the bag.

Then to add the button I cut a button hole in the position I wanted and started hand stitching around the button hole since my sewing machine is missing that handy feature. I sewed the button on in position and that was it! I love the way it turned out!

This bag is going to go with one of my gift certificates for a client, which by the way make for great holiday gifts coming up!

{Christmas in August} Mini Sessions | Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake Family Photographer

Friday, July 15th, 2011

C.S. Photography is announcing Christmas in August Mini Sessions! I know it’s so hard to think about Christmas in the middle of summer but remember how fast Christmas crept up on you last year?! (Or was that just me!) Wouldn’t you love to have your annual family portrait out of the way and holiday cards ordered and ready to go? (You’ll still have your summer tan too!) This will be the only time of the year I offer mini sessions! Visit the FAQ page for full details and to help you decide whether a Christmas in August mini session or fall Home.Life.Art session is right for you. Ready to book? Use the online appointment calendar at

Williamsburg Wreaths | Virginia Beach Photographer

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

We were late getting to Williamsburg this year, but the wreaths were beautiful as always. There was a whisper of snow still on the ground and Logan even saw “Santa” strolling about in his gray track suit. We told him he was on vacation after a busy night. If you’d like to take a peak back at past year’s wreaths, you can find those posts here and here. Wishing you a wonderful year in 2011!

My Go To Gift | Holiday Decor

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Do you have a “Go To” gift for the holidays? This is mine. We usually make it every year for the guys in hubby’s squadron. But it is so simple to make a batch and have on hand for neighbors, friends, hostess gifts, etc. And then of course I get to sip on the leftovers ;) The bottles I ordered from Bottles and More and the gift tags are mini moo cards from Moo. I love these because you can add a personalized touch to your gifts. We have a family picture on the front of the card and a personal message on the back. And the ribbon is natural raffia that you can find at any craft store.

Coffee Liqueur
3 TBSP chocolate syrup
11 1/2 oz whiskey (Jim Beam or other)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 pint half and half

Blend together in blender and pour into bottles. You might need to add a bit more to the bottles after they’ve sat for an hour or so.

{A Piece of Home} | Virginia Beach Life Art Photographer

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

For me, the holidays always elicit fond memories spent with family. I remember one Thanksgiving in particular, the last with my grandma and grandpa before they both passed away the following year. It was the one time we were all together, knowing that grandma would soon be taken by lung cancer. It’s funny to think about what makes a memory. Her gravy and green peas are at the top of my list. Mom never could quite make them the same. This past Thanksgiving we spent the day just with our little family. As a military family, we sacrifice the closeness we would like to have with parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers… The convenience of dropping the kids off with grandma and grandpa for a date night, driving over to my sister’s for a play date with the cousins, or even just a Sunday get together. So I surround myself with pictures to feel closer to them.

This year I knew I wanted to incorporate family into our Thanksgiving tradition. And what better way than with photographs. I had a wallet size picture printed in black and white for each extended family that we were missing and hung them ornament style on a simple arrangement of flowers. Since they were tall, and because I had a lot of pictures to hang, I flanked the table with two of these arrangements. As we sat down to a candlelit dinner, I loved being surrounded with the visual reminders of the memories we made during special holiday’s. The arrangements are still on our table, serving as a subtle reminder to me to look for those small actions in my life this holiday season that will create the lifelong memories for my own boys.

Hopefully this inspires you to incorporate your photographic memories into your holiday décor and I would love to see or hear what you come up with!


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