Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I LOVE the Kate Spade store at the South Park Mall in Charlotte... and not necessarily for what they are selling inside!  I JUST LOVE what they do with their wall space.  So, for the past year every time I would walk by the store {and stare} there's one thing in particular that would always catches my eye: the bright pink stenciled ampersand!!  I had to have it!  I researched all over the internet trying to figure out where I could by one to brighten up my own home!  To my dismay, nothing.

One day I was perusing a design blog by one of my sister's good friends in Dubia {caitlinwilsondesign.blogspot.com}  She had the Kate Spade Ampersand canvas on one of her artwork walls in her home!!  I begged to Tiff to ask her where she bought it.  

Turns out she painted it and recommended a fantastic DIY tutorial by another fellow designer {http://high-heelfootinthedoor.blogspot.com/2010/10/diy-kate-spade-ampersand.html} who painted one as well.  AND it turns out, several Kate Spade stores boast this beautifully designed ampersand canvas, but each one is hand painted as well... so in sum, the only way to get one is to PAINT IT YOURSELF!!

I love an artistic challenge so I went for it!  I found out the actual ampersand design comes from famed typographist Herb Lubalin.  Anyway, I downloaded a few versions from the internet, bought my canvas and paint supplies, printed and cutout the ampersand, traced it on the canvas, then painted away!  It's a little darker that the store's version, but I am pretty happy with how it turned out.

On to the next design element: State Hearts.  The idea is a print of your state with a small heart in it!!  Brilliant, colorful... another must have.  I saw these cute and clever prints on Etsy, but I wanted square ones, with different colors and closer stripes.  I designed mine in photoshop (CA for me and NC for Blake).  The frames, however are another story.  I found the bright turquoise ones I wanted at Pottery Barn for $34.99 EACH!!  A bit pricey for little square frames, don't you think!!  Instead I found these square ones at ikea in the sales bin no less ($3 each).  Next I bought a can of spray paint and went to work.  I am telling you, they look exactly like Pottery Barn frames.  Finished, I love the punch of color and touch of whimsy both projects add to the wall.

I think I went a little "Collage Happy" on my walls after I did this.  Either way it's fun to experiment w/ color and space and go beyond the simple photograph in a black frame or wall print from Kirklands (for example).

My next {DIY}project, these adorable alphabet prints I saw online today.  I'm going to make them for the shelves in the boy's rooms.  Will let you know how they turn out :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"How I Became a Pirate"

Is literally one of our favorite books!!  So of course we were super excited when we found out not only the play, but the author was coming to town (ImaginOn Library).  Friday we spent the afternoon there doing all sorts of pirate projects!  We got to listen to the Author, Melinda Long read the book - who was adorable, by the way and she even signed our copy and talked to the boys!  

The most exciting part of the day was meeting the plundering pirates, Jeremy Jacob and old Braid Beard himself!!  The boys were in pirate heaven (and only slightly scared of the their very real green teeth!!)


Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Blog Background...

I threw a new layout together today... seems as though I needed a little more yellow in my life :)  We'll see if it holds!!

Life is good and SLOW{er}!

Friday, January 07, 2011

A Year In Photographic Review!!

So, it's no secret that this year has been my busiest {and best!} with regards to my lil' business!!  I am blessed and thankful.  I had 82 sessions/projects/events/weddings etc... It's hard to sum up an entire year of work in words so I wanted to do something visual... and I wanted to pull a picture from each session, but that was a project in and of its self!!  I have almost everything organized alphabetically so I think I made it to the M's...

Anyway, here's to continuing to find the balance within the busy, and joy amidst the stress.  To stretching and taking risks, to dreaming, creating, reaching and fulfilling and going FARTHER than you ever thought you could!!  Here's to another GREAT YEAR!!

Happy New Year - 2011

Hope everyone had a fabulous New Years!  Blake and I got to go out... just the two of us!!  We had a really nice dinner, then had a great time at a little get together with some friends.  It's been a while since we've actually been out on New Years, so we could've been sitting in a parking lot and I would've been happy!  We came home around 11:30 and our neighbors, who were watching the boys, were out in the street doing fireworks... suprise!  I could not believe the boys were still awake and in full party mode.  We rang in the New Year w/ our neighbors, watching the ball drop and drinking sparkling cider!  Thankfully everyone slept in until 10am the next day!  A great way to start another year.  I'm looking forward to a fantastic 2011!!  CHEERS!

Walking In a Winter Wonderland - Christmas 2010

I think that title pretty much sums up our Christmas vacation!!  What a trip... and we almost didn't even make it!  

We were set to leave for Blake's Parent's house up in the mountains either Thursday evening or Friday (Christmas Eve Day).  Well, Wed. the poor kiddies both came down w/ Major GI Bugs that had us held up for two days cleaning up after them with stuff coming out both ends!!  Ohhh, I was so sad for them... and really hoping it wouldn't ruin their Christmas!  Finally Christmas Eve afternoon, we decided to go for it (with towels and barf bags in tow) and made it to the Harts!  We got there late, wrote a letter to Santa, left him some snacks and hit the hay!!  We let the boys sleep together in their new Buzz Lightyear Snuggies from their cousins.  So cute!!

The next morning we awoke to THIS!!!  This is the Hart's backyard view.  Wow, it was beautiful.  A true white Christmas.  For a girl who grew up in San Diego, this was pretty cool :)
We had a great time unwrapping all the gifts... Braden was even sent on a scavenger hunt throughout the whole house, leading him to each piece of his Tae Kwon Do "Sparing Gear" - definitely a favorite!
 Then we hit the SNOW!  It was cold, but fun.  We even tried to to sled and build a little snowman.
 Which got knocked down pretty quickly... b/c isn't that the fun part :)
 Little did we know, the glorious snow was literally "snowing us in"... for the next 2 days.  Around noon we lost power (thank goodness Nana and Papa have a generator).  We still had to keep most of the lights off and got quick little luke warm showers... but it was all part of the memory!  The cousins from Atlanta arrived that night.  Just in time for Christmas Dinner.  We had to get all of the vehicles off the mountain b/c Monday we were going to try and head to TN to the Smokies in the Wilderness Lodge.

On Sunday church was cancelled and they were calling for even more snow.  We decided to stay in town that night at the Holiday Inn so we could get out Monday morning!  Mon. morning we left once the snow had started to melt.  Normally the trip over to Pigeon Forge is about and hour and half!!  Seven hours later we had made.  Icy roads and bumper to bumper traffic made for a crazy trip.  BUT once we got there all was well.  Isn't this place awesome!

The Wilderness at the Smokies is an indoor water park resort!!  The kids had a blast.  It was funny to go from snow gear and boots, to bathing suits and flip flops!!  I loved it though and I was just glad we made it.  My favorite was the indoor outdoor hot tub.  It was HUGE and lead you from an indoor steam bath, to an outdoor hut tub.  So amazing to be in a hot tub w/ snow all around in 20 degree weather.

Bray braved up and tried his hand at body boarding!  Blake almost lost his trunks trying out as well!  The bigger waterslides were even surprisingly very fun.

The wave pool was also a hit!

THANK YOU NANA & PAPA For a wonderful Christmas break.  It was fun to improvise and come up with various back-up plans and versions of back-up plans!!  I'll end with our family picture.  This one almost didn't happen!  It was soooo cold, kiddies were crying and the snow was higher than we thought. We pulled a trashcan into the middle of the street, I set the timer and we got it!  Since it will likely be 2 years before we are ALL together again, I'd say it was worth!!  Love you guys :)

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!!

Before I blog my big Christmas post, I thought I would post a few details/happenings leading up to Christmas break!

December continued to be an insanely busy month for me up until about the 18th (my LAST photo session).  I know your chins will drop in horror, but I didn't even begin Christmas shopping until the 19th... but that's okay, b/c we went simple and easy this year and I wanted to be able to ENJOY it!!

Here's another shocking confession: I haven't been able to bring myself to take down the Christmas decor!!  I know, I know... it's coming down this weekend... just enjoying it for one more day!  We ALWAYS leave for Christmas, so we don't get to enjoy it the whole month... last year I left it up a lot longer, so I'm already doing better!  I took a few pics to remember it!  I don't decorate w/ the traditional red & green... it's all silver n gold, bronze, turquoise, orange and pink!  Kind of fun.  AND I LOVED ALL the cards we got this year!  So many beautiful ones for the card holder!

A couple of shots from some Branch Youth Activities.  It has been fun serving w/ the youth over the past few months (after serving in Primary almost 8 years!!)  

TRI-STAKE Barn Dance

Our little Christmas Party for the girls

And finally, Braden's pre-school class presentation!!!  I LOVE how much he ENJOYS school.  He loves his teachers, friends, the creative projects, the singing, the learning etc...  I will save the dramatic story of Gavin and I actually getting to his Christmas program, but we made it at the end to hear him sing, "Go tell it on the Mountain"!  Too cute.  After he asked if I would take a picture of him in front of the church pretending to hold baby Jesus!  Loved it!