Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Baptism Dress, 8 year old Photo Shoot, and a Beautiful Girl

My first born turned 8 years old recently.  That is sort of a special age in our church.  It is the age in which they can choose to be baptized and become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka - Mormon).

The day she was baptized was one of the most precious days I've experienced as a mother.  I'll never forget it.

I've been anticipating this age, not only for the experience and milestone it represents, but also because I've been dreaming up the dress I would make her for a long time.

Let me tell you a little bit about this dress.

My starting point pattern was the same pattern I used here for this dress, a pattern by Dana from Made.  The bodice has such great shape and a sweet little back closure, I knew it would be perfect for this dress I had envisioned in my head.

I made some changes with the pattern after that.  I opted for a empire waist length, fuller cap sleeves, and long gathered skirt.

The fabric consists of simple quilters cotton white fabric, and over-layed with some beautiful soft lace, both bought at Joann's.  

I added loops to the sides to hold a ribbon/sash, which can be changed out for any look.  I can't wait to tie a red silk ribbon around her for Christmas!

I also added some lace trim to the neckline, which is a nice feminine touch.

She is so happy with her dress.

And that makes me happy.

It hangs as decoration (when not in use) on her blue wardrobe, which you can see here.

But she looks so angelic when she wears this dress. 


Now, let me tell you a little bit about the photo shoot we had together.

I haven't had this much fun behind my camera for a long time.

She was such a trooper!  She let me play for over an hour and didn't whine once.

Something I was NOT prepared for!

We had tried at a different time to get some pictures, but it was cold out and her sweet personality was hibernating.

I was thrilled when it decided to warm up one beautiful autumn week, and I jumped at the chance.  She was more than willing when I told her a picnic in the canyon was promised after mommy had her fun.

So while daddy explored with the other 3 kids, her and I walked around from spot to spot trying all sorts of things.

We are lucky enough to have a beautiful canyon just 10 minutes from our house.  And the light that night was just magical.

You've probably noticed by now, that I love to play with back-lighting.    

Even though sometimes the image doesn't come across super sharp when I let that much light in, I still love the dreamy look it gives the pictures.  I don't know if I should blame my cheap end camera on that, or my skills.  Probably my skills.

I brought a few props along with me, and I am so glad I did.

The umbrella came from a thrift store for $2.  I snagged it because it was white (my favorite color) and because of the interesting lines.

She loved having something to pose with.

But my favorite images are these ones on the gravel road.

A car drove by and I noticed all the dust it kicked up, along with the light.

So I asked her to dance in the street.  She happily obliged.

I also posed her with her new set of scriptures which she got when she turned 8.

We had such a blast together taking these pictures.  I think the key was letting her know how much fun I was having, and encouraging her to just have fun with me.

Now, let me tell you a little about my girl.

Because, without her sweetness - the dress and the pictures wouldn't mean a thing to me.

This little girls of mine - she has such a tender heart.  It seems as though her biggest desire is to please others and always do what it right.

She adds such a happy energy to our home.  She is as smart as a whip (that comes from daddy), and creativity just bursts at her fingers (I like to think that comes from me).

However, the light in her eyes (which comes from her Savior), is what fills my days with comfort and joy.  She so easily forgives my weaknesses and loves me still.  She is so patient with me as I explain to her often - that with her - I am learning how to be a mother.  She is a shining example to every one of us.

She is as close to perfect, as I can ever hope to be.

Even when she is silly ;)

Thanks for sticking around for all the pictures!!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bath Salt Soak in a Tea Bag...As a Party Favor for Guests! (For Make it and Love it)

Only Monday morning, and already I feel the need to rest and relax.

Maybe it's the mess from the weekend.  Maybe it's the morning rush with 4 kids.  Maybe it is all the bills I know I need to pay and all the appointments I know I have this week.

Or maybe...it's that my post for Make it and Love it just went up, and I remembered how nice it feels to soak in a bath tub saturated with a lovely aroma and peace and quiet.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Thoughts on Photography and Click Away 2014

This post is all about pictures!

Why?  Just because I love pictures.  I love taking pictures, I love looking at pictures, and I love creating with pictures.

Mostly, I love the idea of loving a moment or an idea or a concept or a color scheme or a creation so much . . . that you want to freeze it forever.  

In fact, I love pictures so much, that when my dear sweet friend said she was going to this photography conference with or without me . . . I knew it had to be with me.

This sweet friend of mine, she is an AMAZING photographer!  As for me, I am a total wannabe photographer.

And I am okay with that!  We still had a blast.  Taking pictures, for me, is an outlet for my creativity on all sides.  I love that there are companies like Shutterfly, that see that creative need in so many of us and offer great products to help our pictures come alive!

I went to this Click Away conference hoping to improve my photography skills a bit, and meet some new friends.  Little did I know, I would come home from this conference with much more than that. 

 And I have been dying to share it with you!  

With the permission from the girls of whom I formed sweet friendships with on this trip, I would like to share our pictures of each other and our perspective of the conference, along with tidbits of the life changing things I learned along the way.

From the Left:
Ann, Megan (our new Texas friend), Trisha, Me, Sandy (dear old pal)
Image from Sandy
Location:  Salt Lake City, Utah.  Salt Lake LDS Temple
I learned that there can be girls that live in the same small city as you, and all it takes is a trip to the big city (without kids) to discover that you were all meant to be.

Image from Sandy

I learned that some people are incredibly brave and amazing to be able to leave all their comforts and tackle an adventure all by themselves, just because they know it will be good for them.  I hope to be like those people some day.  I hope I can be brave enough.

Image from Sandy
I grew to understand that true friendship, is so much more than having so much in common . . . though that helps.  It is being able to see the incredible strengths in each other and understanding their fears and weaknesses.  It is about knowing their joys and their sorrows.  It is about listening, and sharing and laughing and eating.  And all this is forged together for a lifetime by 3 days of exhaustion and sleep deprivation topped off with a glimpse into each others regrets of the past.

Image by Me
I learned that the Cheescake Factory needs to come to my hometown, because they have the biggest menu I've ever seen.
Image by Ann

Even if my husband would choke at the prices.

I'll go with the girls.  :)

Image by Ann
I learned that perspective is everything in life.

You might be at an all time low.  Just look up.  Someone will be there.

Image by Ann

Or you might be flying high!

Don't forget to look down.  Someone might need a hand.

Image by Sandy

I learned I really hate to be the one in front of the camera.  Especially when I know I still have 12.5 pounds to loose, left over from baby number 4.

Image by Sandy

Blast you insecurities. 

Why are you even still here in my 30's? 

Wouldn't it be nice to let you go forever?

But I haven't.  That's what I learned.

Image by Ann

But then we actually met a person who says they openly talk with fear and insecurity on a daily basis and tell them they are welcome to come along for every bit of the ride.  WHAT!!

This is what Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat, Pray, Love" told us.

Image by Ann

 But then she tells fear and insecurity, it can't make any decisions for her.  She gets to do all that.

How does she do that?

I'm still soaking this one in.  Might take awhile.

But I was so inspired from her at this conference!

Image by Sandy

Elizabeth Gilbert explained to us, that if we argue for our limitations, we get to keep them.  She made me wonder, why would I ever fight to keep my weaknesses?  She helped me see that creativity and fear and insecurity will always exist together.  She made me question if I have the courage to make the creative work that is inside of me.

Image by Sandy

She opened my eyes to the fact that I was created by a creator, and therefore have the right and ability to create.

Image by Ann

And that I should always support my creativity and not expect it to support me.

She was so inspiring.  I've never been much of a reader (besides reading blogs - does that count) but I think I need to read one of her books.

Image by Trisha
 There was another speaker at this event who changed my perspective - forever.

Image by Trisha

Her name is Joy Prouty.  Magnificant photographer!  And an adorable girl.  She and her husband took an adventurous leap for almost a year and lived in a trailer with their 4 kids and traveled and let go of worldly things.  She was an inspiration.

Image by Sandy

I learned from her that often times, the hardest stuff is the messiest stuff - and the most rewarding.  That is just how it is.  I have most certainly seen that in my own life.

Image by Ann

She spoke of everything as being a gift.  I've always known this.  But somehow, I had missed it.  I came home from that conference truly looking at each day and each child of mine as the most precious gift.

Image by Me

Thank you Joy, for helping me see that!

Image by Sandy

One of my favorite classes was from Courtney from "Click it up a Notch".  I came away from this class with the most applicable knowledge for me as a mother trying to capture my children in their pure and un-staged childhood.

Image by Ann

With just a bit of preparation, and knowledge of the light in my house, I learned how I can do that better.  And I was pleased to learn that I am not the only one that buys stuff for my house for the sole purpose of knowing that it will look good on camera (and nothing to do with practicality).

Image by Ann

And then I met and took a class from Me Ra Koh, an adventurous, artistic woman who has taken her family along for the ride.

Image by Ann

Which I learned, is not always a bad thing.  Kids can learn a lot from seeing their mother chase their own dreams and work hard.

Image by Ann

Her lessons to me were many, but the one that struck the hardest was that, I can only move one limb at a time if I expect to climb a mountain, without falling.  For someone who tries to have too many hobbies . . . that is a hard lesson to learn.  But one I can certainly see the importance in.

Image by Ann

I tend to take multi-tasking to ridiculous levels. 

Image by Me

She also taught me that if I am not uncomfortable, then I am not creating.

Good food for thought.

Image by Me

Reminds me of the friend we made who came all the way from Texas by herself.  She wouldn't have created any friendships had she not left her comfort zone.  And we are so glad she did!

Image by Me

So that we could all learn together that no matter our faith or beliefs, we share far more in common then this world would want us to realize.

Image by Trisha

And I learned how healthy it can be for a Mama to escape her babies every now and again. 

Makes her love them even more.

Image by Ann

Finally, I learned that we would probably all be lost without our phones these days.
Profound.  I know.

They not only help us communicate with loved ones all over the world, but help us easily capture beautiful moments without skipping a beat.  How cool is technology?

I love my "fancy" camera (as my kids call it) but it sure is handy to snap pics with an iphone that fits in your pocket, to capture those moments on the go.

Phone Image by Me

In case any of you are on the prowl for one, I recently saw that Shutterfly has new iPhone 6 cases that you can customize with any picture or design.  They carry everything from custom photo books to fun pillows!

And for someone who loves pictures - that's one of the best thing I've learned yet ;) Ha!!

I'll be getting a custom pillow C/O of Shutterfly!!!.