Tuesday, March 26

looking out

Baby girl was pulling up to the window in my office trying to see out today. Almost tall enough:

ISO 400, 1/1000, f2.8

To take this I was standing behind Ada, shooting down from above. I flipped the photo upside down here so it would look right-side-up.

That's clear as mud, I'm sure.

Speaking of mud, I hope you are enjoying the great melt-down outside. Mud's the word for the rest of the week!

Monday, March 25

a few days

After all the excitement of photographing my niece's birth it has taken me a while to get back in the grove of posting my daily photos. I'm all caught up now!

Ada got a new little vanity for her birthday. Guess who plays with it the most:

ISO 800, 1/80, f2.5

The babies. These three babies are such a part of our life that I thought I needed to photograph them. Cora had just painted all their nails (oh my gosh I can't believe I let her do that!) and they were just hanging out and having a little dry time:

ISO 400, 1/60, f3.5

Yesterday I went up to get Ada from her nap with my camera. I wanted to peek in her door and try and sneak up on her. Ha! Look at that face!

ISO 800, 1/40, f2.8

Ok. I'm trying really hard to not be too anxious for spring. But gosh. I am hoping that this is the last of winter.

ISO 100, 1/4000, f2.8

Hope your Monday is great!

Saturday, March 23

teddy bear!!

Here they are, in all their teddy bear glory. Max is in the left column, Cora in the middle, Ada on the right.


I have a few tips for anyone else who is thinking about embarking on a similar project. (The possibilities for this idea are endless: first day of school pictures, pictures taken on the same day every year, an object or place changing with the seasons, so on and so forth.)

1. Once you start taking pictures, collect and store them as you go. The hardest part about putting this digital collage together was finding all the pictures! I had to go though pictures I had saved to discs, pictures on an external hard drive, and pictures on my current computer. You could have a special folder on your computer for your project, and add to it as you take photos. Less digging and hunting!

2. Pay attention to your background. Because my little photo project spanned over five years, obviously things in the background changed. I took each picture on our bed, but the bed was in different rooms, had different linens, in a different house, etc. I had to go back and Photoshop out some background in a few of Cora's photos because I had a huge painting hanging above the bed. It wasn't a huge deal, but when I put all the little pictures together it registered as a huge dark stripe above her head. It wasn't that hard to take out, but it would have been easier if I had taken the painting down when it was picture day.

3. Try to limit other visual distractions. One of the reasons I think I like this project so much is how fun it is to see how my children grew from month to month during their first years. I also LOVE being able to look across and see how much they look alike. It is easy to focus on this because there is only a couple things in each photo: a (very cute) baby, and a teddy bear, pillows. Every month I made sure that they were in a short sleeve onesie. No socks. (If you will notice Max has on socks in his month three picture. Dang!) I could have been better and made sure they were in a light colored onesie or even a white one.

4. Don't forget to do it! I am really proud of myself for keeping up with all these monthly pictures. With only a few exceptions, I think I shot each picture on the day of their birthday, each and every month. I am amazed because I honestly can't remember much. If you can't count on remembering to take a photo when you are "supposed to" you might want to write it on the calendar, or set a reminder on your phone. I think a couple times Andrew or my Mom reminded me.

5. Edit your pictures consistently. I knew I wanted to make sure the photos all gelled together, so I batch edited them all together. I waited until I had all the pictures rounded up, opened them all up in Photoshop, and edited them all together. Some of my photos are far from perfect, so I decided to make them all black and white. Black and white edits usually cover a multitude of photo sins. I did pick my favorite photo of each of the kids and left it color. Just for fun.

6. Have fun! While it was fun to make sure things were consistent from month to month, I couldn't control what the kids did. I love that now. Embrace it! Once Max neared his first birthday it was really hard to get him to sit for pictures. So, his last ones are more of a close up. I'm ok with that. It just reminds me of how busy he was! This is going to sound really dorky, but on the day of the kids' teddy bear picture I usually sang them a little song I made up:

Teddy bear picture day,
Teddy bear picture day.
What day is today?
Teddy bear picture day!

I sang it so much that Max would later sing it to Cora, and they both sang it to Ada. We always sang it as I was getting their little photo shoot set up, and changed their clothes, etc. I know it sounds totally corny, but I loved it. Ok, I think I might cry. Moving on.

If any of you have any specific questions to the nuts and bolts of how I put this together in Photoshop I would love to share. I have been so excited to show you my little project. Thank you so much for looking at all the teddy bear pictures I have put up over the years. I will of course show you the grand finale when it is hanging up in our toy room.

*Is it just me, or could Max and Ada be the same baby? Crazy!*

Happy Saturday!

Friday, March 22

angles and perspectives

Today is a special two-in-one post for you. Feel excited! I am a little behind (you'll see why in a minute) so I thought two for today would work.

Angles

I really want to do a series of photo tips here on the blog. Photography can be really intimidating, especially if you have a "fancy" camera. It doesn't have to be though. There are a couple of things that can make a huge difference in how your photos look, and you can do these things if you are using a point and shoot camera, your phone, or a fancy camera. I wanted this series to be super organized and logical, but it might be easier for me to just feature a tip as one comes up in my own photographs. That's how I'm going to try to do it. It's my blog, so I suppose I can do things however I want!

One of the best and easiest ways to improve your photography is through simply changing your angle. Here's an example:

The light in our bathroom is always pretty. Kind of a bummer when good light happens in a room where there is a toilet. Ha! Anyway, I convinced Max to let me photograph him. In this shot I was sitting on the toilet--not using it, just sitting on it. Lid down. Like a chair. Max was directly in front of me leaning on the vanity:

ISO 400, 1/200, f2.2

Not a horrible picture by any means, but not great. So, I changed my angle a little and stood up so I was shooting him from an angle slightly above his head:

ISO 400, 1/200, f2.2

Better! By shooting from a higher angle the composition of the photo instantly got more interesting, Max filled the frame more, and you don't notice that we are in the bathroom anymore. Simple! So, the next time you are photographing something, think about the angle!

Perspectives

My brother and his beautiful wife were expecting their baby any day. Exciting! On Wednesday afternoon Laci sent me a text saying that she and my brother Cale wanted me to be with them when the baby was born--and they wanted me to take pictures. Of course I shot back a text saying YES! I will be there! Little did I know that I would be there with them that very night! I left my house at 9:00 pm, and witnessed a miracle at 3:31 am. I was so honored and happy to be there.

I have zero experience photographing a birth. I have a little experience giving birth. I felt prepared for everything, but I was not prepared for how nervous I would be waiting for this baby. I had a totally different perspective from the births of my own children! It was so strange to watch Laci labor with this baby, and know how she was feeling and wanting so badly to help. I was pacing a little and watching the nurses faces. Worried about Laci, worried about the baby. Taking so much more in.

After a fast and furious delivery, a little bundle made her way into the world. Safe and sound. God is so good.

This photo melts my heart a little:

ISO 1600, 1/125, f2.5

Laci did a wonderful job bringing this baby in the world. Wonderful.

ISO 1600, 1/250, f2.5

Congratulations! She is beautiful--and I'm not just saying that because I'm her aunt. Wink.

Tuesday, March 19

happy birthday baby

Miss Ada is one!!

It feels impossible that she is one already. It is so cliche to talk about how fast children grow--but I just have to say it. I think that a third child in a family lineup grows at an accelerated rate compared to their older siblings. Crazy. Side note: check out Ada's hair. I always said that she and Max both had orangutan hair--little wispy hairs that stand straight up on top of their heads. I even sprayed and combed Ada's hair before the pictures and it popped back up. So cute.

Now that I have snapped this last teddy bear picture (sniff!), I officially have all the pictures I need to complete the big teddy bear collage. I have actually got it all finished already! (I am sort of amazed at my productivity on this particular project...) I am going to tweak it a little bit and then it will be ready for printing and framing! The playroom is going to be so happy with this new addition. I can't wait to share it!

Monday, March 18

weekend

Hello there! Hope you had a fun weekend--we did! On Friday we went on our annual "family fun day" to Monkey Joes in Indianapolis. The kids bounced and ran and played. We went out to eat too--so nice to all be together. Later that night we came home and I helped the kids make robot bodies out of diaper boxes. Later when I was putting Max to bed I asked him what his favorite part of the day was. The robots. Funny how kids always love the most simple things the most:

On Saturday Cora helped me bake Ada's birthday cake:

On Sunday we celebrated. Ada is not officially one until tomorrow...

My Max loves strawberries. I was so drawn to the color in this picture, especially because it is so darn dreary out. Come on spring!


Thursday, March 14

long live the polaroid

I have always loved Polaroids. I'm not sure why exactly. I hopped on the bandwagon a little late and by the time I got myself a camera they quit making the film. I ended up letting Max use up my last pack of Polaroid film. I felt like a good mom that day.

In 2008 even did a little series of paintings on watercolor paper that were the same format as a Polaroid picture. I didn't make it a whole year, but I did paint quite a few. It was fun.

I think I just love the format of the Polaroid. Not to big. A pretty little white border.

So, imagine my sheer delight when I discovered that Persnickety Prints (a photo printing company that I like and have used before) will print your Instagram prints to look like a Polaroid! What!!!!! I was so excited that day! So I uploaded my Instagram photos and ordered myself a little stack of "Polaroids":


ISO 400, 1/100, f2.5

They make me so happy. I love to just sit and look through them. I have often said that although I have thousands of photos on my computer, they are not easily enjoyed trapped on there. I like to hold photos in my hands. I think most people do. You can pick the kind of paper you want your pictures printed on. I picked just matte cardstock. I think next time I will try the "fine art" paper which I am sure is like a watercolor type paper.

I also love Pyrex, so I nestled my little collection of Instagram Polaroids in some Pyrex refrigerator dishes.

ISO 400, 1/125, f2.5

Such a happy little project!

{If you are on Instagram and want to follow me my name is abbywag. Right now I just use phone pictures for my Instagram fun, so you will see a different collection of pictures there that aren't usually on the blog. Double fun.}



Wednesday, March 13

Monday, March 11

rainy day monday

In honor of today's rain, I give you rain boots:

ISO 200, 1/500, f2.5

The whole reason why I have these snazzy new rain boots is because we had a huge auction on Saturday. An auction which we knew ahead of time would be a muddy mess. (Tons of snow followed directly by warmer temps = mud city. Yes, I am smart.) So, knowing that Max and I would be working the mud filled auction I thought new boots were in order. (Thank you Sarah for making the trip into Tractor Supply with me and my children. I hope you want to brave it and go out in public with all of us again sometime!) Here's a picture of my Max on auction day. He was in little boy heaven:

ISO 400, 1/125, f4

Another Max picture for Sunday! This boy "reads" this Lego catalog all the time. I think he has all the prices memorized. So glad I got a picture of him with his favorite reading material.

ISO 1600, 1/100, f2.5

Friday, March 8

hi


ISO 400, 1/100, f1.8

Hi there! I don't know how it is where you are right now, but currently the sun is streaming through our windows and it is a balmy 37 degrees outside. I'll take it. Hope your weekend is great!

Thursday, March 7

christmas in march

Almost two years ago I bought some fabric for new Christmas stockings. I think it was in September. When the lady at the store asked me what I was going to make with the fabric I told her I wanted to make new stockings for Christmas. As in that Christmas--in just a few months. We laughed and said that it was good I got the fabric in September.

Fast forward to now, and the stockings still aren't finished. Now, we all have stockings, but I just don't care for them anymore. They are all a blue color, and I am gravitating more to a traditional cream/white/red/green Christmas scheme. Plus, I love the look of patchwork stockings: each family member having their own special pattern. I got the idea from Camille and her lovely blog. I think she is so beautiful, and I love all her patterns.

So, I am determined to have our patchwork stockings finished for this Christmas. I will be sure and share all of them in their glory when they are finished. Andrew's is a simple and masculine block pattern, Max a chevron, and Cora is a pinwheel. I have yet to decide on Ada's pattern. Maybe a star. For me, I have a love affair with hexagons. Love. I think there is some sort of method to make hexagons by machine, but I really love to hand sew them. It is kind of a tedious project, but I really do enjoy handiwork like this. I know, I am wild and crazy:

ISO 400, 1/125, f3.2

I have one side of my stocking all done, and am now putting the hexagons together for the other side. This project is so satisfying and relaxing. The process is called english paper piecing. If anyone is interested in a little more information on the process I would love to share it with you! Quilting is one of those things that I absolutely love. Especially hand quilting. Right now my creative side has to get by on photography (which is wonderful!) but sometimes my hands just itch to do something. Do you know what I mean? Photography is mostly in the camera, and then a little computer work. Work for the eyes. I need work for my hands too!

Wednesday, March 6

hello there

Right after her nap, with a little sleepy face:

ISO 400, 1/200, f.2.5

Monday, March 4

busy {fun} weekend

Hello there! I took the weekend off--not really intentionally, but I just didn't try super hard to get my blog posts up each day. I did take my pictures! Hooray!

On Saturday my BSU friend Lindsay and her sister Lora came over to help me with my house. You see, I am ready to do some decorating: picture hanging, etc., but for whatever reason I am overwhelmed and stuck. They came to my rescue with tons of good ideas. Plus I got to spend the day laughing. I always laugh so much around them. I love it! I am going to do a blog post later with some before and after pictures. I just love before and after house stuff, don't you?

That night Andrew was out doing an auction, so I set my self up in bed with Downton Abbey. Oh my I love this show so much. I am just getting into the third season. Yes, I already know what happens. Yes, I am already upset about it. I thought it would be fun to look at Downton Abbey photos and stuff on Pinterest so I did a little search one day. Mistake. I learned all kinds of things I shouldn't have. When I learned about the season three finale I was just distraught. For a couple days. Andrew thinks I have a problem.

On Sunday I went to my brother's house for a little photo session. My adorable niece Callie just turned two not too long ago, so we needed some pictures of her, and their family is about to welcome baby girl number two. So excited! I am totally in love with this picture:

Today is a big day. For those of you local people you know what the pretzel on the straw means...Jerry's is open!!! Oh happy day.

Friday, March 1

the little rocker

Once upon a time my grandparents had this little child's size rocking chair. It was one of those pieces of furniture that always was. I hope that makes since to someone. Something that you have always seen, something you have always known. We all sat in it and had our pictures taken in it. My mom has a whole series of my brother and I in this little chair. Now, this little chair belongs to me:

When we had my grandparents' auction last November it was a total impulse buy. I had not really thought much about that little rocker until I saw it sitting in a row with a lot of other chairs. It had to stay with me! Just today my mom gave me a couple pictures of me in the chair. Me and mom in the first photo, me and my grandpa in the second one:

I'm not sure what I want to do with these pictures of my little chair, but just want to do something with them. I am really ready to start decorating my home, and I want to use and honor pieces like this little rocker.

Do you any of you have anything in your home that is sentimental and special? Something that always was?