Friday, September 19

green

Look at these beauties!
We've grown pumpkins before, but never any this pretty! I love these green pumpkins. Such a different look than the traditional orange ones. I bet we will be picking up some "regular" ones too, because I don't think I will be able to cut into these!

Wednesday, September 10

flowers for me

Even though September is here, and fall is knocking on the door, our garden continues to crank out the flowers. We have 2 boxes full of flowers, and it has been so great to have them. I love that the kids can pick them to their little hearts content. They love to make little bouquets and bring them to me. I, of course, love them.
The garden in general has been so great this year. Every year I think we learn a little more and can plan better for the next year. Expert, I am not, but I am learning. This year we planted the prettiest green pumpkins. You know, the beautiful mint colored ones that you see all over Pinterest. They turned out so good! (Pictures later!) Also, our sweet potatoes have officially arrived. I am quickly learning about sweet potatoes. I thought that you could just pull up one and eat it. Like that day. No, no. Turns out you have to "cure" them in a variety of temperatures for about six weeks first. Who knew? I guess it makes sense that sweet potatoes are always on the menu for Thanksgiving. That's when they're finally ready! We even made a little salsa this year. So fun. I love to go back into our back room and look at all my pretty jars of all lined up. How satisfying to grow something, and not only eat it, but save it for winter. I feel a little like Laura Ingalls and I totally love it!

I hope your September is off to a great start!

Wednesday, August 27

one, two, three

I have become a little lazy about pulling out my big camera to capture our everyday. When things get hectic or busy it is easier to take pictures with my phone, or just to not take pictures at all. Akk! Not a good deal. So, I want to put our everyday back on the front burner. I don't ever want to get to busy to miss these little mundane things. My babies are all growing up, and that in itself is enough reason to pull out the big girl camera every day!

So, the other day Ada was working away cutting some paper. I ran and got the big camera to capture it. I loved her little hands, her concentration, and the fact that she is wearing her swimsuit. No, we were not going swimming, we were just here at home. She just loves her swimsuit! I took a few pictures, and when I went back to look at them I noticed something that I do all the time, that I wanted to share it with you. A little everyday photo tip that can turn a snapshot into something a little more artistic.

I often find myself pushing my perspectives when I take photos. The first one often looks like a "regular" snapshot:
Then, I "push" my perspectives or angles a little bit. Usually this involves getting a little closer to my subject, in this case Ada. This naturally starts to take away some distractions in the background and pulls you into the subject more. See how she is pushed more into the top of the picture and some papers from the refrigerator disappeared?
Finally, I push it a little more. Often times I crop things out so much that parts are subtracted. (The top of her head!) For this photo I actually sat my camera down on the top of the table when I took the picture. This exaggerated angle turned the table into really just a reflective blurry form:
Do you see how in each photo I pushed the perspectives a little bit more? I love doing this, and often my favorite is the last one I take. Just a little something fun to try. You don't have to have a fancy camera to do this, either. You can take your phone and take a photo the same way. Instead of holding the phone up at your eye level sit it down on the table and take your picture.

Everyday pictures are my favorites of favorites. Always. They tell such a story, and it is so fun to try and capture them in a creative and artistic way. I hope you like this little photo tip--I also hope your day is great!

Monday, August 25

painting

For the past few months I have become reacquainted with an organization for the arts in my county. The Art Association of Randolph County is seated in Union City at a beautiful old train depot. In the past I have participated in several shows there, and even had a solo show there when Max was a baby. (That seems so strange. So long ago!) Anyway, in the winter I got a call from the current president asking if I wanted to be on the board. At first, I didn't. I didn't consider myself an artist anymore. I didn't really know what I could offer the board. They seemed to think I was still an artist…

Well, maybe I still am. So, after some thought I decided to give it a try. I like being on the board. I participated in their summer photography show. And, most recently I participated in a painting workshop just because. Just because I wanted to and I wanted to paint again, if only for a couple hours. This workshop was held at the beautiful property of one of our auction regulars named Chuck. (That kind of sold me on the workshop--I just had to see Chuck's place!) Although the weather was a little rainy, it didn't hide all the beauty of his place. Gardens, treasures, a pond, and even secret gardens...
This workshop was taught by local artist Lawrence Sexton. I had never met him before, and was not really familiar with his work. After meeting him I was so impressed with his paintings, and sketches, and method of working. After hearing him speak and having him help us with our paintings a little part of me that I have ignored for a while woke up a little bit. It was so good to get out my little travel watercolors (that I've had since college) and pack them up in my black painting bag that I took all over Italy. Such great memories of sitting outdoors and painting were brought back to life. Here's what I worked on during the workshop:
It's just a little watercolor the size of a postcard, but the accomplishment seems bigger than that. It was so good to take a little break and just paint. Paint for the sake of painting.

Wednesday, August 13

first time fishing, so long summer

The other night I did family photos for some long time family friends. It was great. We took pictures, we fished, had pizza and sundaes. Cora and Ada fished for the very first time, and they loved it. It just so happened that we did this on our last official Sunday night of summer vacation, which made me feel a little sad. Summer is over? Already? Max starts first grade today, and Cora starts preschool next week. Ada doesn't do any school yet, and I'm sure she is going to be truly upset about this once it sets in.

Summer went by in a blink. I am excited for all the new things starting up, but of course am a little sad about summer ending. Sigh. Maybe we didn't do many on our summer list, but we spent many a days here at home, on the porch and in the garden. I honestly love home days. Playing on the porch with kitty days. Picking all the veggie days. I love just being with the kids. Not really doing much of anything.

So, so long summer. Until next year...

Friday, August 8

happy

Sunflowers are just so happy. I love them so much, and I don't think we will ever have a garden without them. That first picture is a new one we tried this year: a Teddy Bear sunflower. It is just so cute! Petals upon petals make a very furry little sunflower.

What are your favorite "happy flowers?"

Tuesday, August 5

a {finished} project

I love projects. I guess you could say that I am a project hoarder. I have ideas for days. I love to look at Pinterest and find all kinds of ideas for things: decorating, recipes, quilts, you name it. The only problem with this is the fact that I never seem to complete any of these wonderful ideas I find. Sometimes I even buy supplies for all these ideas just so have them sit around. Forever. Probably about a month ago I bought some frames at an auction. There was absolutely nothing special about them, I just felt like I needed them. Here are my $5 frames:
All three, $5. (Plus two more super ugly and huge plastic ones that I put in the dumpster.)
These frames then sat on the front porch for a few weeks. I finally decided that I needed to do something with them because I was tired of looking at them in their ugly state.

This next picture has nothing to do with this project. It is just my new kitty named Blue, who I think is the prettiest feline ever. Long story: Ada's little kitten Mittens was playing under my van one morning before we ran out to do a few errands. I was in a hurry and didn't even check under the van before we left. Mittens was run over, and I was heartbroken. Ada loved that kitty. So, I texted my friends with the kitties and, yes, thank God, they had more still available. Ada got her a new little tiger kitten, and I got Blue. I couldn't resist. It looks like all of his extremities have been dipped in chocolate:
Back to the project. Lack of time is probably the biggest reason I don't really do too many of my fun ideas. Another reason is that I always have "help". Three little eager helpers. Lately thought, I am trying to include them more in things I want to get done. They, after all, are a lot like me, and really want to do fun creative things. Hello. Yes, it is harder with help. Yes, it is messier. Way messier. Yes, I have to let go of my perfectionistic ways. It is worth it. (Usually!)

So, while Ada was napping, the older two kids and I mixed up a batch of chalk paint. Not chalkboard paint, but chalk paint. I have heard all the rage about chalk paint and how great it is for furniture and other small projects that you want to look distressed. You don't have to prep your surface (sanding) you just paint away and then distress it with sandpaper after it is dry.

Here's the recipe:
1 1/2 cups paint
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup plaster of Paris

Dissolve the plaster of Paris in the hot water, then mix into the paint.

For the paint I think it would work best to use latex paint like you would use for your walls. {I used leftover paint from our living room.} I bet acrylic paint would also work.

I loved the chalk paint. Covered really well, sanded beautifully. Now, I don't have any experience with "real" chalk paint, so I can't say how it compares to the real deal.

The kids and I covered the frames in one thick coat. Cora used lots of paint. I smoothed a lot of hers out.
Here are the frames finished! It was really fast because it took only one coat, then they seemed to dry quickly too. I roughed up the edges a little with sandpaper.

We put the "new" frames in the little reading corner of the living room. My mom helped me get them all hung up. It was so weird: They all fit perfectly in this little arrangement like I had measured and planned everything out. Nope, just luck! I propped the little bird painting in the corner just for fun. I painted that forever ago. I think it will be fun to put seasonal things in the frames. (Pictures, garlands, etc.)

It feels good to finish a little project. It feels double good to have that same project be so cheap! If you count the Command Strips we used to hang the frames, and the plater of Paris, this project topped out around $15. (The plaster of Paris came in a big tub for $4. I'll be able to use it for the rest of my life probably!)