Today was just my day. I went to Twice as Nice Home with a mission and, this time, I scored – big time! I was actually looking for dessert plates to match my old, old punch cups from the Unicorn Restaurant. Find #1: 20 dessert plates for $15. They have one rectangle for dessert, one to fit the punch cup and one is an ash tray! How shockingly retro. Find #2: This sweet antique doll that was asking to go home with me and sit on the bed with Grandma’s quilt. She reminds me of the China Girl from Oz a little bit – can you think of a good name for her? Find #3: these hand-painted plates that were made in China. 20 dessert plates and seven dinner plates came home with me for $9.99. Leaves are so beautiful, aren’t they? Find #4: paper towel holder now holding the garden string that I’m fond of using to tie up my climbing roses. Find #5: a garden angel that matches my purple bird bath and candle holder. Find #6: this tray magazine holder. I’ve been sorting through everything in my house and was having such a tough time giving up some old Southern Living, Country Living, Midwest Living, Martha Stewart, etc. and now I don’t have to!
Last week Emma and her family came to see me from Rockford. Emma was 13 days new and just as sweet as she could be. She slept and posed so pretty.
Oh, my, these two boys are growing into knockouts, aren’t they? Our photographic journey has included many stages, so far, but the session today was the best. So, so cooperative and full of great ideas for poses and those eyes and eye lashes. Wow, GQ here they come! Dad, Nathan, suggested getting out a fan – LOL! Seriously, to see how these kids change over a few year’s time is heart-warming. These aren’t your typical Christmasy, cutesy setups but they are perfect for Andrew & Jacob.
Kelby immediately corrected me when I called them “Urban Chickens” since, technically, they do not live in the city limits so they are not truly urban chickens. However, Kelby’s family is surrounded by a housing development so, it doesn’t really seem like they are outside the city limits. They have struggled to maintain a small flock of chickens but, sadly, the urban predators find them time after time. Hopefully, these will last a little longer. Dawn and her Dad added the coop’s side panels so the flock will be protected during the cold weather.
Saturday the weather was beautiful and warm and we were able to be outside playing and studying the newer chickens up close. On Sunday, I used four little eggs in the pumpkin pie I baked.
Repurposed Dresser by White Furniture Transformed – Beautiful Media Center from Lily Field FurnitureJuly 21, 2012
I’m a little slow to become aware of the need to recycle everything. I just read that plastic grocery bags never break down in the environment and have been regulated in many places which then led me to look at how I clean and store things and make changes there. My latest change has been to always look at ways to re-purpose furniture that I own or that needs a new home. Enter Lily Field Furniture.
I have been watching Heidi’s Facebook posts since purchasing the cute turquoise piece; waiting for the right one to become available to hold our new TV. The size was right in every direction and appeared to be a quality, well-made piece of furniture. Now, it’s sitting in our “West Wing”, adding a beautiful design statement with its color and form. Seeing the inside label in the drawer made me do some further research into the rich history of White Furniture company of Mebane, NC. I learned that the company was started in 1881 and finally closed in 1993. This research led me to Bill Bamberger, a photographer known for documenting social issues, who shot over 350 rolls of film when the factory equipment was being dismantled. His images of the laid off workers are especially touching and emotional. I’d love to find a space just like that old factory to re purpose into my own photography studio with an abundance of natural light.
Thelma & Louise We Are Not – But We are going on a Road Trip! Betty & Nancy, my sister and I, are leaving this week for a huge road trip of about 5,000 miles. There will be no guns involved (or Brad Pitt) but it will be an adventure for both of us!
We have talked about it for a long time and finally started doing some serious planning last year. Our plan is to see lots of family from our newest great-great-nephew Micah in Des Moines to our older sister and brother-in-law in the Phoenix, AZ area. Our farthest destination is Scotts Valley, CA, to see our niece and her family. She has lived in CA forever but neither of us have been out there for a visit.
My planning included losing weight before the trip. I was worried about my back with all the car sitting and my energy level so last September I re-joined Weight Watchers. My goal was to lose 40 lbs before the trip or an average of 5 lb/month. I’m thrilled to say I will meet that goal before we leave.
Am I nervous about this trip –yes! There will be so much driving to get to these destinations and it’s hard to know how that will affect us. I’m still worried about my aching back so, have had regular massages during the last several months. We will be sharing a hotel room on several nights and there may be some sleeping issues?? I’ll be gone from Jim for over two weeks and that will be hard but, thank goodness, for Face Time! Andrew will help care for our dogs and for his Dad! Thank goodness for that! Since Jim is haphazard about putting away dishes I’m worried about finding my stuff when I get back.
Jim has a few concerns of his own about “me leaving him”. He has never, ever learned to use the “Tower of Terror.”
I”m uncharacteristically picky about the laundry and never, ever give him that chore to do. We will have a brief lesson before I leave and hope for the best.
Another planning aspect for me has been the technical equipment I’ll be toting – iPhone, notebook computer, video camera, all my SLR camera equipment and lenses and then there’s this little gem which is my latest geeky acquisition. It’s a mini stand for my iPhone so I can capture images and video of us along our route without seeing a wide angle, closeup version of my face – yikes!!
My travelling companion, Betty, is really looking for some respite time and that will be great for me, too. We will not be cleaning our houses, washing clothes, unloading the dishwasher OR working on client photography. Betty and I are best friends and we never run out of things to talk about.
Iowa City – watch Erin play softball
Des Moines – meet baby Micah and Mommy
Kansas City – visit niece, Debbie and her family AND see Jersey Boys
Norman, OK – rent a bike if there’s time and sleep
Santa Fe New Mexico – visit Georgia O’Keefe Museum
Laveen, AZ – drive Route 66 and stop in Sedona on the way to my sister, Diane’s house, in the Phoenix area
San Diego, CA – visit the ocean and dine oceanside
Scotts Valley, CA – stay with niece Denine and see great nephews and great-great nephews and possibly other cousins
DRIVE BACK HOME –
Other hopes for the trip: visit new National Parks, eat at least one restaurant recommended by Guy Fieri on Diners, Dives and Drive-Ins, drive the Pacific Coast Highway, Exercise and lose weight. Relax in the hot tub. Listen to multiple audio books.
I’ve been thinking back to 1955 when the five of us took a similar road trip to California (my oldest sister was already gone by then). Then, we drove a 1948 Ford with no air conditioning cross country, through the Mojave Desert and were gone for a month. We visited Disney Land the year it opened! My mother was an avid vacation planner. We didn’t have much money but somehow she squeezed money out of their tight budget for this vacation. I wonder what the gas prices were then? Our wonderful Dad would have turned 100 years old this September. We often wonder how they stood travelling with three kids in a tight back seat like that.
This time we drive a super comfy Toyota Highlander and have excellent interstates to get us to our destinations fast. Let the adventure begin!
After finishing up a wonderful session with brand new Abigail and her first-time parents, I started replaying the planning that was involved in capturing these images. Even though I love to photograph the spontaneity of a toddler, the newborn session is approached in an entirely different manner. Steps accomplished before the session:
Order newborn hat well in advance of session from A Bit of String in case baby arrives early. Abigail did! Cost $20. And, another hat from MadAboutColour which took even longer to arrive from Canada (didn’t end up using it). Cost $33
Renew National Association of Photoshop Professionals membership (NAPP) partially to get free shipping from B&H Photo and Video. Spend time watching video tutorials on lighting and Lightroom 4.0. Cost $99
Three weeks in advance order roll of wide, replacement paper in white from B&H Photo Video. Order warm white by mistake but love it in the chair shot. Also, order three short rolls; Sea Green (used in spring shot), Sky Blue and Marmalade. Cost $124
Order ruffled romper to take advantage of sale from Ashley’s Posh Tots. Cost $15
Search for another perfect chair and find one at Grasshoppers in LeClaire, IA. Also, purchase vintage planter and Spring setup starts to formulate in my mind. Gas plus new props. Cost $150
Find paper flowers and butterfly for background of spring setup at JoAnn Fabric. Cost $20
Order two yards of caramel fur fabric from Fabric.com. Cost $28
Two weeks in advance arrange for chair painting and distressing to remove all lead paint. Labor plus materials cost $75.
Order gray throw from Pottery Barn. Cost $63
Two days in advance carefully cut caramel fur per research on YouTube (I cut my gray fur all wrong!).
Wash new clothing and throw. Test rolling throw in yellow egg basket.
Morning of session turn on additional heat in the studio and waiting room including space heater and heating pad.
Utilize iPhone womb sound app. Wait for Abby to be fed.
Position dad close by (just out of shot) for safety.
Two hour session with a marvelously sleepy baby and so, so helpful parents. Resulting images captured: PRICELESS!
I have sorely neglected this blog but, again, am pledging to do better! This is one of our recent birthday girls from the Cuter Every Day Club, Megan. It’s amazing for me to see these little ones as newborns and finish up with this wonderful “cake smash” session” on their birthday. Megan used a two-finger technique for sampling the cake – they are all different. Some are tentative, some want to share, and they all are happiest when the cake arrives! My, my – see how she has changed in one short year.
I’ve been wanting to get Paige down to the end of our street where all these yellow flowers are blooming. However, when scouting out a location like this I have to take into consideration more than just the pretty background and light. I sometimes need to be sure there’s decent parking and a way to get my big, heavy props to the location. We managed to get the old, red chair down there, as you can see, but wish we would have had more time with the beautiful backlighting on her hair. So, here’s a few of my favorites from tonight, right before sunset, and also a pullback which looks like Paige is doing all of our heavy work returning the chair to the car. She really did pull it most of the way back!
Even though Paige enjoys getting ready for a mini session with Mimi (me) and she is great at helping me get everything set up, she’s really not that thrilled when we get going. Often she can’t wait to get off itchy clothing like these leggings I bought both of the girls. So, out of many, many shots this morning these two were the best.