Monday, September 28, 2009

Big, Giant Post

Hi there. I think I'm a little tired.
Just the thought of a post detailing our weekend makes me more tired. At the same time, so many wonderful things happened - I can't just let them all slip by without telling you a little bit at least.
Mindy's baby shower was this weekend, and you know how I like to have parties! My sister-in-law, Sarah and I co-hosted, with the help of Mindy's sister, Kim. We all divided up the tasks beforehand and I was up until,
four o'clock Saturday morning doing my stuff.
I have it on good authority that Sarah was too.
We had a vintage baby cowboy theme goin' on and it was so cute. Honestly. I sewed miles of bunting to hang from the ceiling and made rope words to hang on the walls and Sarah made so many adorable cookies and games and food and more games and...
wanna see some pictures?

Between the two of us party pros, I don't think a single detail was overlooked.

The other reason I was awake so late was that I had to finish, of course, the hand-made baby gifts. I made two sets of receiving blankets and burp cloths from a pattern I found at and I wrapped up that organic cotton Baby Sophisticate sweater I've been working on, along with a cute little button-topped, matching hat. There will be more pictures later (due to a photography class assignment), but here's a little preview:

My brother Jon also hand-made a present for Nolan. It's the cutest little robot toy. Oh. My. Gosh. You can sort of see it in Joe's lap above. That will also be included in more detailed photos later this week. Kate? You will love it so much.
I regret that I didn't take more photos of the food. Sarah made homemade pigs-in-a-blanket and gingerbread cookies on sticks in little cowboy-themed shapes. I made a ton of cupcakes:

By the time the shower was over, the past two weeks just sort of washed over me and I collapsed. My body hurts from my accident and the resulting physical therapy, my head hurt from all the multi-tasking and was tired all the way through. Chris really took care of me and made sure that I rested as much as possible on Sunday. For a fun, family-style activity, we jammed our fists into the dirt and harvested the first of our sweet potatoes.

There weren't many yet, especially considering how the vines have taken over everything,

but at the same time, it's nice to have found a crop that we seem to have some success with. I guess sweet potatoes really love the heat and humidity of the south!
We finished our Sunday off by using up the remaining sparklers from July 4th. They've been just sitting in my room and waiting for Emma to get a bit braver. She's always been pretty scared of them, but finally worked up the courage to play with the sparkly fire.

The shower was truly a beautiful celebration of our newest little family member. But the biggest reason to celebrate was that Nolan was given the green light to come home this past Sunday, the day after his party. There are still some scary things - he will be on a heart monitor for a long time and he really can't be exposed to many people (germs, y'know), but he's home now and that's all that matters. Gratuitous baby photos, anyone? These are from a week ago or so, but still. Tiny baby. Eating. Being burped. Need I say more?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Photoshop Fun

In my photography class last night, we got to finish working on our vintage & hand-colored pictures. I really had fun. I changed the one of Andrew just a little bit - I made his eyes a little more of a denim blue instead of the aqua blue and fixed some issues with his shirt - originally, I had messed around with the black & white adjustments and it made his shirt look a little weird. Here's the final shot of Andrew:

Here's the one of the old motel - dirtied up a little bit and with the sign colored. I had initially had the letters in pink and the awning in aqua. My professor wanted to switch it up, just to see. And he liked it this way. And I want a good grade. So it stayed this way.

And the truck. I had lots of fun with the truck and couldn't decide how I liked it best. So here's m'favorites:

And finally, The Apron Picture. I added some texture to this one, just to try it out. I like how it looks like the photo's been crumpled in somebody's pocket for ages. However, I really liked it without the texture too. But for my assignment, I turned in this one, simply because I had one already that was simple (Andrew) and one already with a vignette (the truck - that's the darkening around the edges) and keeping the scratchy copy gave me some variety in what I turned in.

I'm indecisive. So what.

I would like to state that there was an incident yesterday involving the front bumper of my car. My poor car. And I would not like to further discuss it (note to family and friends: seriously. I don't want to talk about it). If I am ever able to find the humor in it, I will tell the story. If not, let's just consider The Mysterious Bumper Incident After the Rear-End Collision Incident After the Transmission Incident part of my, uh, mystique.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I guess it's officially fall now. I know that some of you will be checking in to see photos of my annual Autumnal Equinox dinner party. Usually, I post pictures full of bountiful tables and smiling faces and candles burning and pumpkins everywhere. Guess what? Not this year.
Of course, I had to do something, but considering the busy state of our life this fall, it was going to be a small something. I just made some fall desserts and coffee and set them out in my living room. Of course, I pulled out the leaf crowns for the girls to wear and Chris strung a few of my leaf garlands up around the living room, but for the most part, it was just a simple evening.
I spent a good part of my afternoon yesterday wondering why I was even doing anything at all to celebrate the change of season. After all, it doesn't even really change here. But we celebrate all the seasons in my family because I want my kids to be aware of what God has made here and how amazing it is. I want them to learn to notice what's around them and to be grateful for it. But this year, it seems a little trivial. This year, we are very busy. This year, I have a tiny nephew who is still in the hospital (doing marvelously, by the way) and I had a car accident that has given me so much paperwork and a little physical therapy that I don't have time for and we have some dear friends facing some very difficult, very personal pain. And when you add it all up, putting on a leaf crown and making apple crisp just doesn't seem like it's that important. It just doesn't seem to be worth the effort. And even though it was just dessert and coffee, it required more effort than I seem to be able to give this week.
When we got home, I remembered why I put out the effort. Andrew couldn't keep his nose out of the kitchen and as cinnamon began to waft through the air, he hugged me more than I can remember being hugged in a single day. Emma excitedly rummaged through her closet, looking for just-the-right-thing to wear. She was thrilled to help me put giant molasses cookies in bags, then tie them with a fat, fall ribbon as party favors. She chattered incessantly while we drove to the music studio for this evening's lessons and teaching. And after we got back home, rushing like mad to put out coffee and apple cider, Emma got out a stool and happily plopped whipped cream on top of the individual servings of pumpkin cake I dished.
We lit the $1 candles I'd scooped into my shopping cart over the weekend and sat. A small-ish group of family and friends trickled in through the front door. My grandma couldn't wait to wear her crown of leaves - just like she does every year )but this year is the first without Grandpa). People ate the treats I'd made with my own hands. And even though I am exhausted, I was glad I had made the effort to keep tradition. Because we sat for just a minute and looked into each others' faces and took notice of the beauty of God's creation - the blessings of being surrounded and supported by such incredible people.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Few Things

1) Autumnal Equinox party in two days
2) Baby shower this weekend
3) Emma's birthday party impending (two weeks?) and unplanned
4) Not prepared for any of them.


Friday, September 18, 2009

It's A Start

I had so much fun playing with these photos last night in class! I really was wishing that I could have stayed much longer, but my neck and shoulders told me to stop, so I listened. I have to do some physical therapy next week for that. Yuck. So I'm going to try and take care of myself while I'm undergoing treatment. We will have a chance to work on these some more in class next week, which is good because I don't feel quite done with these and I have a whole other one that I haven't even started on. But I thought you'd like to have a look-see at how it's all coming along:

I'm not sure what else I'll do with this old motel one. Maybe I'll do a slight hint of pink over the "Motel Office" letters on the side there or something, but I don't know.

This one's really not done. The eyes are a little over-the-top and I need to play with the color sliders in the black & white layer a little bit more. I don't know what I did that's making his shirt all blown-out looking.

And this one? The apron? It was a big hit. I love it a lot. I still want to tweak it a little bit but not much. I might make it a little more black-and-white and a little less sepia and I might tone down the green on the porch a bit. But overall, I'm pretty happy with it.

And here's the last-minute, pull-off-on-the-side-of-the-highway, snap-the-picture-and-run-like-heck photo that I haven't worked on at all yet:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Here are my choices for this week's assignment. Wanna help me pick which one to turn in? I've simply desaturated these so you get a feel for how they'll be in black and white. I hope the finished B&W will have a bit more depth. Here's my two favorites of Andrew:

I'm thinking, like I said, of only coloring his eyes.
And here's a cool building in Plant City:

It cracks me up that it's so dilapidated, but the sign says "A Cheerful Place for Cheerful People." That also makes me think of a childhood story...
When my little brother (Jon) would have a tantrum, my mom would send him to his room and tell him he couldn't come back out until he was cheerful. Sure enough, within minutes of hearing us walk by his bedroom, talking about having some ice cream, he'd come out, sniffling and red in the face and declare, "I'm cheerful now." So, this building's sign sort of makes me think of it as a time-out house. Which makes me laugh. Oh - also, the awning would be turquoise and the lettering would be red.
And here's a little self portrait:

I'm thinking of coloring the apron's bias trim & cherries red.
Whatcha think?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


This week's assignment in my photography class should be a simple one for me. We are supposed to bring a timeless-looking photo to turn into a black and white photo, then we'll be doing some selective hand-coloring in Photoshop. Vintage and timeless is sort of my thing, you know? But when somebody else tells you to do it, it's harder.
Who am I kidding?
I have authority issues.
It's hard for me to do anything somebody else tells me to do.
So, I had a few ideas in mind, but I have just not had any time to put into it.
Huh. Wonder why?
Working two jobs, taking a class, helping when I can with my tiny nephew, had a car accident, hubby out of town, kids in school/clubs/band/music lessons...
Generally, I only have time to take pictures over the weekend and it just didn't happen this time. So, I will be throwing together what I can. One of my ideas was to get Andrew in a pair of jeans and take a simple portrait, then hand-color just his gorgeous blue eyes and maybe-maybe-only-maybe his jeans too. I'm not sure if that idea is really what I'm looking for, but here are a few shots of my dreamy son.

(It was super-hard to get this angle without getting that dang outlet in the background or the table that's over his right shoulder somewhere-so that's maybe not going to be the one I use, but I still love it.)

I'm just sayin', if I were 12, I'd be crushing on him big-time.
Oh, let's just be honest. I have the biggest-ever Mama crush on that boy. I just love him to bits. Heart-breaker indeed.
I'll be trying to sneak in a few more types of pictures before my class meets on Thursday. I'll let you know what I come up with!

(note: You've probably noticed the lack of my regular features, the Daily Bliss and the Wake-up Playlist. Honestly? I just am so busy that I'm not meditating on the simple good things lately - I promise to fix that soon - and I'm so tired that I'm not even waking up with songs in my head. I promise that'll be back here as soon as it's back in my head!)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Letter

Dear Man in the Truck With a Purple Stripe:
The other day, on County Line Road, I was driving in the left-hand lane. Granted, I don't always go as fast as everyone in that lane goes, but I was clipping along just fine. Plus, I had to make a left turn shortly. So, when you pulled up next to me and then slowed to match my speed, I was a little confused. That's a popular spot for road rage (believe me - I'm the queen of it), so I was worried that I'd done something to offend you. You stayed next to me and I started to feel a little unnerved. Not exactly feeling up to a confrontation, I decided not to look over at you.
I'm sorry. How could I have known?
It wasn't until I got into that turn lane and slowed down that I realized what was going on. It slowly dawned on me as you hung your head out the window and gave me a wide grin.

Thank you.
I'm old enough now that I don't really care if you're kind of dirty or driving a landscaping truck or whatever. I'll take what I can get, and it's nice to believe, even if it's just for a minute, that I've still got it.
You made my day and if I'd had any idea what was going on, I would have at least granted you a wink and a smile.
Next time, 'k?

Thanks again,
The Girl in the Green Cadillac

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Well, That Sucks

Hey, so, I got rear-ended yesterday.
Crap like that always happens when Chris is out of town, y'know?
I'm OK. I mean, I'm pretty sore in the neck and back and all the muscles in between - it was awfully tough to play the piano today (I had to quit after just one song) - but I saw a chiropractor today and he's gonna get it all straightened out. Har, har. Took some x-rays today, going to review them tomorrow, and all the rest of that drill.
My car is going to be alright, too. It's a little dinged up, but it's fixable.
Without telling the whole story (solely because I'm too tired/sore to try and be a good storyteller), I'll just say that I was stopped in a right-hand turn lane and just got wholloped from behind.
In other news, I had my photography class tonight. Here are the three images I turned in for my homework (two are from the previous post and one is new):

I had a hard time choosing which drum photo to turn in, but my teacher preferred this one, simply for the stick position. So I went with that.
This week, I get to come up with a vintage-y shot. Then we're going to desaturate and hand color it in Photoshop. Fun!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


This is Nolan in the hat I made him. I've been calling him my little string bean and the hat pattern was called the Beanstalk Hat. It was fate. See? He's smiling because he knows how much I love him. The hat told him so.
He's off the oxygen, off the IV and off to a great start.
We are blessed!

Monday, September 7, 2009


Okay. Photography class assignment. This week, we're using shutter speed to capture motion, which sounds simple enough, right? Not so much. If you photograph a moving car, it just looks like a parked car. Same with lots of other things. We have to make sure the subject conveys motion and use the shutter speed as the tool to capture it. I've been a little intimidated by the assignment because I don't normally take pictures of moving things! I like things that sit still and behave.
At any rate, we're supposed to demonstrate are three basic types of motion photography.

With a fast shutter speed, you "stop" motion. So, this type of photo needs to freeze something in action that the eye would not normally have the ability to rest on. Here's what I have so far.

That one with the rhinestones is the one I really want. There are some problems with it. I'd like Emma's hands to be in better focus and to not have that dark shadow from my camera on the bottom one. At the same time, this is only Digital Photography I and I don't exactly know what I'm doing. Wink. I've tried to re-shoot this lots of times over the last few days and the sun and children just don't want to cooperate. I may keep trying if I find some time.

Then there's "blur" motion, when something in the photo is blurry because it's in motion. Probably your subject, but not always. It's best conveyed by including something stationary too, for visual reference, I guess. At least that's what I understand it to mean. I had lots of fun trying to take pictures of my brother playing the drums. It was interesting to try and frame that shot in a way that was aesthetically pleasing and well-lit. The butterfly one is a little over-exposed, but it's still pretty. The one of Emma's hair is not really what the assignment calls for, but I just like it.

And finally, there's "pan" motion, wherein you follow your subject in motion, keeping them in focus and blurring the background. This is the one that has challenged me the most. I only have a couple that I like so far, and I'm not really in love with them too much. My camera's aperture doesn't go small enough to slow down the shutter speed outside. I'm going to really have to keep trying on this part of the assignment, but I have a few more days. At any rate, I love Emma's face in this one:

and these alright too:

I can't decide if I like the cooler-toned one or the warmer-toned ones. I guess I can't hope for perfection with only an advanced point-and-shoot camera in my hands, but I'm having so much fun and learning so much in this class. I think I'm going to start saving up my allowance for a big-girl camera.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Chris is out of town for almost two weeks, life is nuts and I'm super tired, but there's so much bloggable stuff going on, too. I'm in between tasks and still have miles to go this afternoon, so this will be a post-and-dash, k?
First up, the owl-y surprise!

It's an apron for my new friend Jessica. She's married to one of my brother's best friends and I had the privilege to meet her through blog-land, even though she doesn't live very far away. I have a weird compulsion. When I meet people and I like them, I must make them things. Hence, this cute apron. She picked out the fabrics, I took too long to make it, blah blah blah. But it's finally done.
Next up, girls-only dinner. My mom, Emma and I met a friend of Mom's and her daughter (who is in the third grade also) for a fancy dinner with tea and china and candles and everything. It was such a needed evening.

Lastly, well, my little baby nephew of course! He's feisty and tough and doing so well. I took these photos yesterday when I got to visit him and Mindy. He only has "touch time" at certain times of the day (the really teeny ones can't handle the stimulation of constant contact very well) for about an hour at a time, so I was really happy to catch him as he was - content and snug in his mommy's embrace. He totally knows when he has his mommy. He gets so relaxed and sleeps so deeply.

Oh - and he's wearing the hat his Kiki (me) made for him. All three of the hats I made are a wee bit on the big side. I guess preemie patterns are for bigger preemies. Ha! It won't be long, though, before he's outgrowing everything in sight. He's gained back an ounce or two and quickly recovered from a little bout with jaundice (that's totally expected when babies are this early). We are all so excited about how strong and beautiful this teeny fella is!

I'll have some photography class pictures up here in the next day or two. I'm a little bit intimidated by the assignment. We'll see how it goes...