Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What I Saw

I was finished with work early in the afternoon yesterday, so I celebrated the significantly lower temperature by throwing on a cardigan and going on a drive around my area of Nashville with my camera in tow. This is what I saw.

I am in love with where I live.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

He's so Fluffy I'm Gonna DIE!!!

It was early this morning, about halfway through my cup of coffee. Ryan had just left for work and I was wondering what to blog about today when it happened.

The door opened and Ryan said, "Hey, Sarah, wanna see the fuzziest caterpillar ever?"

"YES!" I sprang up and starting running toward the door. "Oh wait - camera!"

When my pajama-clad self walked out the door, this is what I saw.

Eeeek! Isn't he cute? (I don't know why, but all creatures in nature are male to me. I wonder what Freud would have to say about that?)

Not only is he attractive to the eye, but he also has an appreciation for the arts. Here he is crawling all over the neighbor kids' sidewalk chalk drawing to get a closer look.

"Come to me, and together we will play and laugh and daydream and I really hope you aren't poisonous and won't bite me even though 'death by caterpillar' would be pretty amusing on the death certificate."

He didn't bite.

Bye-bye, caterpillar friend. I sincerely hope I don't walk outside and find you squashed at my doorstep later today. I would cry.

I'm going to tell myself that you will find a pretty lady caterpillar who looks just like you, only pink and purple, and together you will browse museums and frequent local coffee shops on beat poetry night.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Er....Makeover Take Two...and a story.

I'm sure you all have noticed that my blog looks different...AGAIN. Ever put something together, think, "Oh, this looks so great!" and then find yourself less and less satisfied each time you see it?

I think what bothered me the most is that I was just using a background that another person had made. As I'm tapping further into this part of me that's evidently creative, I'm holding myself to higher standards of originality. Plus, I have a husband who is great at helping out with stuff like this ;) All right, fine. He did it all while I watched.

I had a different background in mind, but while I was taking the pictures I hoped to use for it, Ryan was at my computer and had picked this photo out. He put it up as a placeholder, but I think I'll keep it. I like it because it perfectly matches the colors I picked out for the header, and also because of the story behind it. Wanna hear it?

Back in May, Ryan and I traveled to San Francisco for a friend's wedding. We were exploring the bay area with some college friends and decided to go to Muir Woods (I'M SO GLAD). You'll notice my outfit. Sue me for wanting to look pretty in the pictures. You'd better believe I hiked a mile-and-a-half in that Anthropologie dress and those girly flats, and then walked/skipped that distance back down. And it was so incredibly fun...

...until the (in hindsight) inevitable happened. We were walking along the path, nearing the top, when I saw a thin, light green shape wriggling around on the ground. Now, I can describe how I react around snakes all I want, but you'd have to see it to believe it. Let's just say I was a sobbing, hyperventilating, wheezing, panicking mess. The worst part was that I was absolutely trapped. My instinct around snakes is to RUN as far away as I can, but I was in unfamiliar territory - near the top of our path and 100% needing to go back down the same way. My husband and friends calmed me down and, thankfully, I made it the rest of the way without seeing another snake. But by the time we got up to the top, I was still upset and teary and wishing I could fully enjoy the breathtaking view around us.

My good friend David encouraged me to say out loud, "I'm not afraid." And, as silly as I felt, it worked. I admitted to him that when I saw the snake, for the first time, I could feel a part of myself saying, "Sarah, there's nothing to be afraid of." Of course, the ever-present "IT'S A SNAAAAAAAKE! SCREAM AND SOB AND RUUUUUN!" part took over, but I've had this paralyzing fear all my life and any tiny breakthrough is astounding to me.

So we started posing for photos on top of this little hill to celebrate our triumphant journey together. It is one of my favorite memories.

Oh, and on the way back down we saw a huge slug. It was gross.

The End.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Taking Matters Into my Own Hands

A few weeks ago, on one of my favorite blogs, I saw the most adorable shabby, obviously handmade fabric flowers. I asked the author for a tutorial but with four kids and her many creative escapades to keep her busy, she has rather understandably not provided one (so far).

I googled. I surveyed. Finally, I decided that they really couldn't be that difficult to make, so into my crafting room I went.

She's not necessary, but she does provide pleasant company.

Not pictured: fabric (duh), felt, button, needle and thread.

Tip: I may regret giving away my secret, especially if you live in Nashville, but my favorite place to buy fabric is in the form of old pillowcases at Goodwill (sheets if I need more than scraps). There are all kinds of solid colors as well as, most of the time, a few lovely vintage prints. And they're CHEAP. So much easier and less expensive (and overwhelming) than going to Joann or Hobby Lobby - which, for me, is thirty minutes away.

The first thing I did was cut strips of the fabric I wanted to use for my flower. I'm sorry, but I did not measure my strips. If you have fabric to spare, my advice would be to start long (18" or so) and trim off what you don't need at the end. The bottom flower will be the longest and widest, and each layer on top of that will decrease in length and width (again, I eyeballed and trimmed as needed).

Fold the strip of fabric in half length-wise and press.

Now. I could have used my sewing machine for this, but after oh-so-carefully folding pleats, struggling to pin each one down perfectly, and seeing how much time it was taking, I scrapped that idea and grabbed my trusty hot glue gun.

On an "appropriate" surface (one you don't mind picking strings of glue off of), put your strip of fabric down and fold a pleat. Mark the area where the fabric overlaps and put a dab of hot glue there. Less is more, as the mean dude in "Angels in the Outfield" used to say.

Press the pleat on top of the glue and hold for a few seconds to let dry.

(I apologize for the quality of these pictures - it is most difficult to craft with one hand and photograph with the other. A 1.4 aperture is usually a beautiful thing, but not when there's so much going on in the photo and so little of it is in focus. I'm much more apt at photographing when I don't have a hot glue gun in my hands.)

Continue folding and gluing. The "tighter" you want your flower to be, the narrower the pleats need to be on top where you're gluing. The pleats should never be the same width on top and bottom because then you'll just end up with a straight line of pleats instead of a circle. I hope that makes sense...

When you've folded and glued all the way around, trim off the extra fabric and glue the ends together, overlapping some. Cut out a circle of felt, put a ring of hot glue on it, and glue it to the flower.

Repeat this process with more flower layers as desired.

Now, when you're finished, you'll have a gaping hole in the middle of your flowers. This is when a cute tidbit such as a button comes into play. Thread a needle and bring the needle up through the felt and through the button holes. Repeat three to four times to make sure the button is nice and secure. Then tie the threads on the bottom into a double- or triple-knot and trim off the excess thread.

Voila!!! She's cute, huh?

You can make your flowers into pins by simply hot-gluing the felt base of the flowers to a pin base, found at Michael's, Hobby Lobby, etc (maybe even Wal-Mart, but I avoid that place like the plague so I wouldn't know). ;)

I chose to make my flower into a headband. I measured around my head with elastic and cut it to the appropriate length. Then I cut another felt circle (yeah, by this time I'd given up with the camera) and hot glued the elastic onto it. I hot-glued THAT onto the felt base of the flower.
This is the best picture I was able to get of myself. (Ryan, come home!)

I must say that I was pleased with the way it turned out :o) So I didn't stop there. I made another headband (and resorted to Photobooth with its yucky, unflattering use of unnecessary flash but extreme convenience).

I tried to wear it the way all the cool kids are wearing headbands nowadays, but I don't think the results were very awesome. I think my bangs make it look awkward.

For the "middle" of this flower, I simply took a tiny piece of the yellow fabric, folded it over a couple of times to make it look nice, and hot glued the sucker on there. I hot glue everything. Hot glue, hot glue, hot glue. I should probably just start eating it so that I can eventually shoot it out of my wrists a la Spidey. That sounds like a super-convenient and not at all messy idea!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Elly is HERE!

A few weeks ago, I posted Colleen's maternity photos. While shooting that session, I kept thinking, "What if she goes into labor right now?!" Well, baby E's due date in late August came and went, and she was finally born, appropriately, on Labor Day weekend. Elianna Joy is here at last, and I had the privilege of going to visit her and snap some pictures of her now that she's home!

Never would I have expected a baby so new to this world to be SO alert and expressive. I expected her to be sleepy for all of the photos, which would have been adorable anyway, but she surprised us all with wide eyes!

Mother and daughter. Two beautiful ladies indeed.

Phil is the definition of "Proud Papa."

Now they are a family!

Cannot get over this precious girl.

Phil and Colleen, thank you so much for giving me the honor of taking sweet Elly's pics. I'm so excited to watch her grow and learn - she's already off to a great start!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Little Eric

My cousin Margo has the most adorable, most energetic little boy. His name is Eric, after his dad, so they call him Little Eric :o) I love it - reminds me of Little Ricky from "I Love Lucy."

I was in St. Louis this past weekend and Margo asked me to get some pictures of Little Eric for his upcoming second birthday. I was happy to grant her request! We met for insanely delicious pizza and then headed to Kirkwood Park.

Eyelashes, anyone?

So sweet!

Check out those eyes.

Margo, thank you SO MUCH for giving me the honor of taking your precious boy's two-year-old pictures! It was so great to see you and finally meet your little man!