Archive for 'Children'


As Jen mentioned in her post last week, we’ve been going like crazy putting on a series of charity events to help support a local family who is struggling in their fight against cancer.

We learned about this family’s situation a couple of weeks ago while I was chatting with a realtor friend of ours about a community event she hosts at a local sugar shack.  (For those of you not in sugar bush country, a sugar shack is where maple sap is boiled down into maple syrup.)

Anyway to cut a long story short ,seeing how Jen covered this in the previous post, with this past Saturday’s event I decided it would be kinda fun for you to see our photo booth and the sugar shack hike in action.

Here is a time lapse sequence of the day.  6 hours compressed into just a minute and a half.  Click play and enjoy.

Remember, Sharing is Caring so please share this video to help us get word out about how fun this event is.  We have another event scheduled for Saturday, 7 April 2012 from 11am-3pm at Elsie’s Creek Sugar Shack – 4279 5th Line N, Oro-Medonte.

Oh, and check out that awesome, quilted banner by the fabulous custom quilt designer, Jennifer Houlden at Quilts by Jen!


Hi Everyone,

We have something a little special here today.  Jen wrote a fantastic blog post about the fund raising we’re doing for an Oro-Medonte family with a Grade 3 twins who’s mum is fighting cancer.  I’ve cross-posted her entry here, to the Houlden Studios blog, for you.

Have a read and will you let us know if we’ll be seeing you at the Sugar Shack this weekend?

Fun at the photo booth!

Houlden Studios along with some help from Quilts by Jen – maybe more than a little help seeing how I am kind of the other half of Houlden Studios – is helping to raise money for a local family fighting cancer living here in Oro-Medonte.  Last weekend we set up our photo booth with all it’s wonderful props that we had at our Family Day photo booth and some new ones to take some more funny, crazy and wacky photos.  We set up in conjunction with Elsie’s Creek Sugar Shack – Carl & Rebecca who own and run the sugar shack are wonderful hosts and served awesome pancakes with their fabulous maple syrup.

We will be setting up again this Saturday March 31 and then again April 7 from 11 am- 4 pm at Elsie’s Creek (4279 5th Line N) to have loads more fun with the photo booth and props.  Along with the photo booth is an awesome list of prizes to be won – we have had an overwhelming response to help raise money for this family in need with many prizes being donated from local businesses in Oro, Orillia and Barrie.  With over $3000 in fantastic prizes doesn’t it make sense to come out and buy a ticket?  1 for $5 or 3 for $10 with all proceeds going to our family in need.  Some of our sponsors include:  Hardwood Ski & BikeShadowboxNoble UpcyclingMultisport Canada and many more. This Saturday’s pancakes are being served and sponsored by Diana Monteith one of our local realtors.

As well, Quilts by Jen, will donate $20 to the cause from each and every Santa Sac ordered up until the end of day April 7, 2012.  A personalized, custom made sac for that special little one will certainly put a smile on his or her face Christmas morning when they find it under the tree full of goodies.  Check out the different designs available in my on-line catalogue.  To order contact me at

Personalised Santa Sac – One of many designs

So tell me, what are you doing these next two Saturdays?  Will we see you out at Elsie’s Creek for a walk in the woods, some pancakes with maple syrup and lots of fun in the photo booth?

See you there and if it is raining, big deal – you don’t melt, do you?



The day started out as a straight forward family portrait of an extended family.  After an initial phone chat with Ginny about her family and her desire for a family portrait, Jen and I went to their house on Lake Simcoe for a pre-session consultation so that we could get to know our client and have a great understanding of their expectations.  The basic requirement for the day was a tasteful, traditional portrait in a casual setting on their lakefront property.  The family dogs being just as important as the people, the challenge was set to produce a fabulous portrait with two girls under 5, 3 dogs and 6 adults.  Bring it!

Yes, you read that right.  Many a photographer would run for the hills after hearing that specification!  Fact is, most photographers shy away from the traditional family photograph as it is, let alone mixing in the dogs.  With not one, but three dogs, it’s a recipe for a challenge.  Good thing we love working with kids, dogs and families.

Come the day, not only did we capture this terrific family, but we managed to create some fabulous pet portraits of the three dogs and the pooch being doggy-sat, a second family portrait, again with their two dogs, and we squeezed in a mini-couples session for the newly-wed son and daughter-in-law.

Definitely a big day, but we’ll let you be the judge.

Stayed tuned (or subscribe!) for coming posts about the pets and the newly-weds…

(Oh and be sure to hit the full-screen button on the slideshow – the images look WAY better super-sized!)


A couple of weeks ago one of my very best friends brought his family to visit for lunch.  Steve and I go a long way back. We met in our first year physics lab at Queens, puzzled over the labs together, shared brews, mountain bike rides and some very late night study sessions trying our best to survive Engineering.  We made it, graduated and then went our separate ways as so often happens with Uni friends.  We would get together when I would be back in Ontario visitng my family from time to time.  Its always been one of those really easy relationships.  Easy to fall out of touch, but just as easy to get back in touch.  No expectations and no hard feelings.  Everytime we get together it’s like we’ve been communicating daily every since we finished school.  You know, when you can just pick up a conversation or a joke and carry on without any of the awkward reminiscing about the “old days” because you have nothing else in common anymore.

A few years back Steve mentioned that he had met this incredible woman while on a business trip when he was working for a robotics company.  Fast forward a little bit and the next thing we knew Steve and Nue were heading to Thailand for wedding.  “We are SO there” was our immediate response…. Anyway, perhaps we’ll talk about that experience another day because I could go on about it for hours.

I talk a lot about how important our family is to us and how great it is to be back close to them.  Another benefit is being close to some of our closest friends.  We met Steve and Nue’s two fabulous little girls Matina and Aleena earlier this summer and now these two little darlings have already stolen our hearts.  Matina is painfully shy, but once that shell cracks, there is no stopping her.  And the stories that she told me as we explored the edge of the forest around our home were some of those wonderfully intricate fantasies that come so easily to children.  It is such a great gift to receive that trust, especially from someone so shy.

After lunch Steve and I took Matina to explore some of the Simcoe County forest and the Barrie to Orillia hiking trail that crosses through our neighbourhood.  Grabbing my camera on my way out the door I thought, just maybe we’ll get a chance to create some photographs…..  Well, regardless of how the images turned out, introducing Matina to wild blackberries was certainly the highlight of the walk for me!

A Sister's Kiss

A Sister's Kiss

This image from a photo shoot in the Australian Outback remains one of my all time favourite images from a family shoot.  The love this young girl showed her brother as they explored an explosion of wildflowers in the desert was so sweet.  For most of the shoot, they ran and explored, then in a quiet moment she reached around her brother and gave him this sweet kiss.