Tuesday, May 31


Please don't be confused. Yes, I did change the name of my blog. What was once "artist for hire" is now "sugarbowl art company". Why? I am trying to merge my blog with my studio/studio activities, etc., and the name change seemed to be the first step. So, yes, you are at the right place!

So, the other night I bribed Max with an ice cream cone to pose for some pictures for me. I have tons of pictures of him doing everyday type things, but not many pictures of just him, dressed up a little. Seeing how he just turned four, now seemed to be a good time to capture him by himself. Um, he was not really a fan of this idea. Maybe it is because he is over the camera, but I think it had more to do with the fact that things were happening in the garden and he was forced into taking pictures. He had work to do!

He gave me about ten minutes, which (luckily) was enough to get a few keepers. Hello Max, you look a little too old in this picture, please stop growing right now!

This look is a little moody. My boy was a little moody, so it is fitting.

My mom was just over my left shoulder coaxing out a few smiles. It worked.

Max was awarded for his modeling with the promised ice cream cone. He's off the hook until next year!

Note to grandparents: I will be ordering some "real" copies of these pictures of these very soon. You know, pictures that are on paper that live outside the computer!

water in a bucket

As I mentioned yesterday, the kids love to play with a bucket of water on the sidewalk. I love it too. Now, they do have a couple little squirter things (thanks Carissa!), but other than that it is just a bucket of hose water. I took these pictures one evening last week:

Love Cora in her little Croc shoes. They're not the real Crocs, my mom found them for her at Meijer. Five dollars, I think. These are the best shoes as far as dirt goes. With the sandbox and the garden, the kids' feet are always dirty/muddy. These shoes can just be hosed or rinsed off!

Max tries to teach Cora how to do the squirt thing. She hasn't really caught on yet, but she still has fun just dipping it in the bucket.

Doesn't get much better than this!

Monday, May 30

buttons galore

Happy Memorial Day everyone! I hope you have the day off and are able to enjoy the hot rain-free weather. The kids played out on the sidewalk this morning in a bucket of water. I love that they are the ages where the simplest things make them happy!

We had a busy weekend: a monster of an auction on Saturday, then yesterday we finally got most of the garden planted. I'll have some pictures of the garden later, as we get it looking pretty. We decided to give raised beds a try this year. They do look nice all lined up. I think it will look even prettier once everything starts growing up and filling the boxes even more.

Now, about that monster auction: This auction had an huge collection of buttons. I mean huge. I am a button lover myself, so it was fun to see the sheer volume of buttons that this particular woman had collected over her lifetime. Huge. Now, in a risky move, the seller decided to sell all the buttons in one lot. (That means that they were not sold per container, or box, but rather the whole shooting match for one money. I sound like Andrew when I say that...) Anyway, they sold as an entire collection. I won't say they exact dollar amount here, but just know that it was a lot. People even applauded!

This auction also had the largest collection of Roseville pottery I had ever seen. Now, I don't really care much for Roseville myself, but a lot of people like it, and it is highly collectable. I do have to admit, the colors looked really pretty all together on Saturday, but it is still a little too ornate for me. Give me my Ball jars and Pyrex please.

I hope you like the auction pictures. It is really fun to walk around with my camera before things get started and take some photos. A lot of work goes into putting an auction together, and so we may as well document some of it. Plus, you never know what you will find!

Thursday, May 26

more baby girl cuteness

I have a few more baby photos for your Friday!

I had such a fun time taking Callie's pictures! It was really warm last Sunday when we took these: perfectly wonderful weather to do baby pictures outside. Plus, my brother cooked us hot dogs on the grill while my niece got her nap in. Win win. (Side note: hot dogs on the grill are like pure summer to me. Love it!)

When I was uploading my pictures to the computer I laughed out loud when I saw this one. Callie is giving me quite the look. I feel like she is saying: "Why am I doing this? Why am I wearing a tutu? Why won't my Aunt Abby leave me alone?"

a thursday list

1. Sorry about the lack of posting for yesterday. We were busy yesterday morning, and when we got home I watched approximately eleven hours of weather radar. I know: "Hello, my name is Abby and I'm a radaraholic." Thankfully nothing major materialized here at home, but there are others in Indiana who are digging out this morning. My heart hurts from all of these storms. (Not to mention that I am a little on edge. I hear thunder and I'm like "Everybody down!!" In the depths of winter I yearned for spring so badly. Now I just want it to be over.)

2. On a happier note, Scotty won American Idol last night! I, along with most of the teenage girls in America, faithfully voted for him.

3. I am out of ideas on the cooking front. I used to do pretty good with making a menu, then shopping and having a handful of meals I could make. I recently have tried to stick to a stricter grocery budget, and the menu idea has since went out the window. The kids and I went to the grocery on Monday (to read about that experience please scroll down!), and I don't have anything to make for dinner. Or lunch. Hmmm.

4. I'm reading a really cute book right now. I checked it out from our library. Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews. I'm not very far into yet, but so far I'm liking it. It's about Savannah (obviously) and antiques, and pickers, and estate sales. Fun! I love books. I love the library!

5. Check out this cutie:

I plan on working on editing more of her pictures tonight, so I can share more tomorrow. So cute Callie girl!

Hope everyone has a storm-free Thursday!

Tuesday, May 24

she is very determined

Oh Cora girl.

She is a saucy little thing. Not easily distracted. When she wants something, she wants it. Or, when she is upset, she lets you know about it. A month ago when we took her to the pediatrician for her leg he tried to walk around with her to get her to relax. The nurse assured me that he sometimes did this, and the children usually calmed down.

Well. He brought her back to me at an arm's length, kicking and screaming and red as a beet. "She is very determined!" he exclaimed in an Indian accent. Yes, yes she is.

Yesterday we were in the grocery store, and Cora watched a little bag of marshmallows go down the conveyor belt. Panic! She wanted those marshmellows! Try to explain to an eighteen month old that she will get them in a minute. She screamed during the entire checkout process.

I think our cashier was stressed. If you have ever seen Cora when she is upset or wants something it is quite a sight as well as an intense listening experience. I am pretty used to it, but to others it is alarming. Goodness. As we were leaving a lady checking out in another lane gave me the stink eye. I know, I know.

Back in the comfort of our car, I gave Cora her marshmallow. As was well with her little world again.

Even though she is very determined and a little hot-headed, I don't think I would change her. Sure, it is embarrassing out in public, but it is her. Some of my most favorite moments with Max lately have been when we meet eyes as Cora is throwing a little hissy fit--he knows and loves her too. He smiles and just gives me a look that says: "I know Mom!"

Love you Cora, and all your determination.

*This photo of her is really not related to this story, but I just thought it was cute.*

Monday, May 23

more family photos

I want to share a few more photos of the family I photographed last week! Like I said before, I've known Kate my entire life, and it was so great that she asked me to capture her family in photographs.

Kate and Nate have the most perfect "picture taking barn". I don't know why barns make such good backdrops for photos, but they do. Maybe it is because they create such a great feeling of Americana. I love old barns!

Isaiah is so fun...he reminds me a lot of my Max. (He loves dinosaurs!) I did pictures of just him last fall, and he has grown so much since then!

Little Jude was so happy during the entire session! Supermodel baby award!

Thanks again Kate and Nate!

On another photo note: yesterday I went down to Indianapolis to photograph my niece who is now four months old. We got some really pretty ones that I am excited to share later this week! Be warned: there is a tutu involved. Seriously cute!

Friday, May 20

a little preview

On Wednesday evening it quit raining long enough for me to take photos of a wonderful family. Kate and Nate and their adorable boys were so much fun! I have literally known Kate my entire life (she is one of those people I don't ever remember not knowing) and I was so excited that she wanted me to do some family pictures for her.

I will probably show more next week when I have them all edited. There are lots of good ones!

Hope everyone has a great Friday! It looks like the weather here is going to be great!

Thursday, May 19

the key problem

I don't know if anyone else out there has this problem: we have a problem with keys. We are always looking for keys. Keys to the cars, keys to the office, keys to the studio, etc. We seem to always be looking for a key to something.

Meanwhile, we have a ton of keys laying around that we can't remember what they go to. I mean a lot of keys. Yesterday I was trying to tidy up a few things, and I decided to put all the random keys in a jar. I chose a big jar because I knew there would be more. (I haven't gathered up all the keys from the laundry room yet...)

I am in a purging type mood, and I wanted to just pitch all these keys. I didn't though, because as soon as I did we would need to hunt through them to find a key to somewhere. So, for now I think I will leave all these orphan keys in the jar on the counter. They can be decorative!

Tuesday, May 17

lilacs in jars

Just a little pretty for you today. I wonder if I will ever tire of lilacs in jars:

Probably not. It is one of the best simple pleasures of spring!


Cora played outside during the birthday party the other night. She loves playing outside.

The second picture isn't perfect--the focus is a tiny bit softer than the first photo--but I just love her expression. After I took this one and saw it on the back of my camera, I knew that it would be one of my favorites of Cora, and that I should do something with it.

I really need to print out more pictures. Right now they are all living on my computer. Max looked through some photo books I had made for him of his baby pictures and he seemed to love seeing himself as a baby. It was great because it made me realize that the thousands of photos I take of my kids will most likely not only be appreciated, but maybe be loved and cherished.

I shall keep snapping away.

Monday, May 16

happy birthday max

On Friday evening we celebrated Max's fourth birthday. This year he said he wanted a monster truck party. Luckily he is very easy to please, and a few checkered flags and a monster truck on his cake made him more than happy.

Max actually helped me make the frosting for his cake and cupcakes the day of his party. Every birthday party I am a little bit stressed about the cake, but I really love doing it myself. I think he would probably be happier about a cake from the store, but for some reason I think a old fashioned type layer cake is more fun. (I'm sure the clock is ticking on this. When Max starts going to more birthday parties he will see "cooler" cakes and the jig will be up.)

My mom made this adorable flag bunting type thing for Max. It was so neat. I think maybe we could use it in his room someday.

All in all a great birthday. Love you Max!

Friday, May 13

love hate relationship

These pictures are a wee bit overexposed, but I just had to share them anyway.

They love each other:

They hate each other:

The cats spend half their days sleeping, and the other half fighting. Very entertaining.

Hope you have a great weekend! We have a busy one: Max is turning four!!!

Wednesday, May 11

kids photography workshop

Good morning! Today I wanted to tell you about a workshop I am planning at my studio!

I always host "art camps" each summer for kids. This year I wanted to try something a little different. In June, I have scheduled my first ever Kids Photography Workshop! Basically, kids will bring in their digital cameras and we'll learn how to take better pictures. We'll practice doing still life pictures, portraits, and landscapes and architecture. I will also introduce famous photographers in history, and share their work with the students.

Local? Interested? I have made a Google Document for the workshop that you can access:

Kids photography workshop

Hope you have a great day!

Tuesday, May 10

a bracelet project

Did you ever make friendship bracelets when you were younger? You know, the ones made out of embroidery floss? I did. Oh man, I was a friendship bracelet making machine. I think I hit my peak bracelet making days in late elementary school, probably fourth or fifth grade. I also vaguely remember having a really cool thick one that I refused to take off. I think it made its way into a formal type portrait of my brother and I because I didn't want to take it off. (Do you remember that, Mom?)

I do have a direction with this, I promise. One morning I was reading Ashley Ann's blog. Do you read Under the Sycamore? Please do, it is awesome. Anyway, she mentioned a project that she was taking part in, and I loved the cause, loved all of it:

There is an organization called Craft Hope that prompts people to make different crafts for people in need of, well, hope. In April, the cause is Orphan Outreach. Orphan Outreach is a non-profit organization that reaches out to the millions of orphans and at risk children throughout the world. Craft Hope is partnering with Orphan Outreach to send them to Russia armed with bracelets to pass out to children there.

Will this change a life? Probably not. Will it give a child a little smile? Hopefully. Little things can be big things to those who are hurting.

So, I enlisted one of my art students to help me with this project. I sent her home with a goody bag full of embroidery floss to make lots and lots of bracelets. The bracelets are due June 15th. I asked this student how many she thought we could make. I suggested twenty. She says forty. I think she's excited.

Do you want to kick it elementary style and make bracelets too? (They don't have to be friendship style, they just have to be handmade.) Here are the links:

Craft Hope: Project 12 (Orphan Outreach)

Orphan Outreach

hang on!

Last year for his birthday, we got Max a little Gator. Basically it is a battery powered golf cart type thing for kids. It has been an endless source of entertainment for us and for Max.

Enter Cora. On Sunday we decided to put her on to see if she would like it. (You know, since her cast has now been removed we can up the danger factor a little.) Anyway, so we put her on the Gator, thinking she wouldn't really like it. Oh, she liked it all right...

And she wanted to drive. She steered and Max pushed the pedals. Cora is you know what on wheels:

You should have seen Andrew running all over the yard after them! Oh, I'm not sure why Max has on that Amish hat...

Sunday, May 8

nothing mini about it

I made it. I finished the 2011 Mini Marathon on Saturday! I feel like it was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done, and I am so proud of myself. I feel proud of my body, too. For one of the first times I am really happy and satisfied in my own skin, and a attribute that with running and accomplishing a goal I set for myself.

Here's a recap of my experience: (warning--it is a little wordy!)

I was so nervous the morning of the marathon. Seriously, I don't know how people can be real athletes. I was in corral U for goodness sake (back of the pack!) and I was really nervous. I found my friend Holly--who I've been training with since January--and her husband Scott before we got packed in our corrals. Did I mention there were 35,000 people in this race? Crazy. I was looking for some other people that I knew, but never found them.

The race started and then we were off! Not really, it actually took a little over 20 minutes for me to reach the actual start line. Then I was off! Now, I knew that I could not run the entire course, but I wanted to run as much as I could. I made it to mile 5 then I started to walk. Then I started to wonder how I was ever going to finish.

So I walked a little more. Miraculously, I hear a familiar voice. I turn around and there was my friend/training buddy Holly and her sister Kari! I was so happy to see them! I honestly feel that God knew I needed a little push. How else on earth would I have run into (almost literally) Holly? Don't know. It was like seeing an angel or something.

Holly and I made it through the track, which many people say is the toughest part of the course because it is 2.5 miles around. It takes a while! After the track I felt like I needed to walk a little more, so Holly went on, and I walked on.

I walked, and walked, and walked. I would have liked to run more than I did. I was really not prepared for the toll running/walking on the pavement would have on my body. Cardio wise I felt OK. Not super, but OK. My back/knees/feet/hips were another story. Everything from the waist down was in serious pain. I did the majority of the training on the treadmill, which has a little give to it. The pavement does not. Plus, I knew I had a blister situation on my left pinky toe. But I kept walking. Slowly but surely, I kept passing the mile markers. 9, 10, 11, 12.

The last mile was the longest mile of the whole race. At the quarter mile remaining mark, I started to run again. I was so happy to see the finish line! My official time: 3 hours, nine minutes, 51 seconds. Pretty slow, but I finished.

After the finish line I got my medal--which I am tempted to wear everywhere--and a bunch of snacks. I called Andrew to try and find him in crowd. He just said: "Keep walking straight, I can see you." When I saw him, I cried. I felt like a huge baby, but I couldn't help it. I don't think I have ever been more happy to see him!

On the way back home we stopped at Steak n Shake and I devoured a cheeseburger and fries and two vanilla Cokes. (I'm sure lots of top athletes refuel with Coke.) It all tasted so good because I had really earned it! I almost wore my medal in the restaurant, and I should have so that way people would know why I looked like I had been hit by a truck.

There you have it. My tale of the Mini Marathon. Will I ever do it again? I don't know. Had you asked me yesterday I would have said: "No way--not in a million years!" It was really tough. I do want to continue to run, and work on my fitness level. Like I said, for the first time in my whole life I am really proud of my body. I don't want to pick it apart: it is strong!

Plus, I really love cute workout clothes. So, if nothing else I shall continue with my fitness goals for the clothes. Smile.

Thursday, May 5

weekend plans

This weekend I think I will go for a little jog...

Oh my goodness. I am not really crazy about running (although it is growing on me), and not really crazy about crowds. It appears from the above photo that I may have signed up for the wrong thing...

Hmm. Maybe next Saturday I shall try to find an event of cupcake eating and talking about books and craft projects. That is more within my comfort zone!

I kid. I think part of the reason I wanted to do the Mini Marathon this year was the fact that it was outside my comfort zone. Really outside. The other reason was that it gave me a goal to work towards. I can tell you, it was really hard to keep getting on the treadmill these past few months. This goal was a little (OK, big) shove towards being more active. I have said before, I am not a runner. I've never been an athlete. I have been running since January, and I feel like I have come a long way. Just exercising regularly is a great outcome from this experience. My first goal was to run the entire 13.1 miles. I am realizing, that at least for me, that goal was a little lofty. Now I just want to finish. Running/walking the whole course.

We'll see! I tend to be a little bit of a Nervous Nellie, so I am hoping that I don't get myself all worked up about it. Me, worked up? Crazy.

(I am banking on my sweet husband letting me sleep in on Sunday so I can recover from all this craziness. It is Mother's Day after all!)

Happy weekend to you!

self timer success

Reading stories after Cora went to bed. Love that look on Max's face!

Wednesday, May 4

happy bath day

Cora got her cast off today! I have been looking forward to submerging this girl into a tub of soapy water for three weeks now. I even got her some new bubbles. She seems pretty happy having a bath too:


Monday, May 2

as promised

I have a few photos to share from my little photo shoot with my niece, who is the ripe old age of three months. I love it when babies hit that three-month mark. Their little legs start to fill out and get so chubby. I told my niece how much I loved her chubby legs and she cried. One should never comment on the chubbiness of another's legs, even if they are baby. Even if it is super cute.

On to the pictures...

Why do I love pictures of hands so much? Don't know. I think a portrait can be of so much more than a person's face.

I wish someone would have been taking a picture of me taking this picture. We (myself, my brother, my sister-in-law & her mom) were surrounding the poor child while holding up the edges of this pretty sheet. It was a little too bright, and so we had to make a little sun shield. How many people does it take to take a photo of a baby? On this day it took four.

I adore feet and shoe pictures even more than I do hand photos.

Now, these are not the last of the cute niece photos. Callie was not quite feeling me and my camera in her face the other day, so I think we may try for a few more this weekend. OK, if I have to take more pictures of her I will...


A photograph of mine has been featured today on a blog called Back Home Again. If you love Ball jars, especially the blue ones, be sure to check it out!

I am excited to dust off a few of my blue jars to use for some lilac photos. All of a sudden the lilacs are in bloom! The combination of flowers and blue jars is so beautiful.